Coach your child’s brain

3 easy formulas for developing learning skills

By Libby Ferguson, Contributing Writer, Walmart

Like strength-training for the body, the brain needs lots of fuel and regular exercise. This is critical for children developing learning skills that will stay with them for life. Think of the process as learning to learn.

Here are three proven study formulas to try at home:

Kids desks

1. Build solid organizational skills

Start with a little study-space feng shui: Is his “desktop” uncluttered and well-lit? Has he read through his assignment(s) to get a feel for how much and what type of work he has?

Sit down with him for the first five minutes to develop an action plan and estimate how much time he’ll need to complete each assignment. Help him prioritize by tackling the most challenging assignments while his brain is “freshest.”  Set aside an extra 10 minutes in the morning so he can review his work to see if he’s satisfied with the results.

School Supplies

2. Make learning fun

There’s more pressure and competition in today’s schools than ever before, so it’s important to keep a positive attitude when it comes to studying and homework.  Try to take some of the pressure off by taking a five-minute break every 30 minutes or so. Let him tackle his favorite subject first to set a positive tone.

Unique and colorful school supplies – highlighters, folders, colored paper – can help keep him studying. Splurge a little on supplies if it means he’ll enjoy his study space and want to stay there a little longer.

Development & learning toys

3. Set goals and milestones

Explain the difference between short-, mid- and long-term goals. “I would like to finish my science project tonight” vs. “I want to improve on the ‘B’ I got last semester” vs. “I want to get that scholarship to my favorite school.”

Study goals should be measurable, with parameters by which the goals can be gauged. Keep the dialogue open when the time comes to assess whether he’s reached his goal. Would there have been a better way to accomplish it? How would he approach it differently next time? And, most importantly, show your support with reassuring words and rewards.

“Learning to learn” isn’t a class your child will likely ever take in school, but learning how to tackle homework and study time properly can increase the chances of success in every class he takes.


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