Five G.R.E.A.T. Study Habits Every Kid Should Know

Whether your child is getting ready for that grade one spelling test, that grade five science test, that grade11 history exam, or that first year university psychology final, here are five great study habits every kid should know.

I have taught grades kindergarten to grade seven to adults.  Funny, even as a school teacher I taught children the same successful habits I learned throughout my studies of two university degrees, that worked well at any grade level!  Being an educator for over 23 years has taught me a lot, good and bad habits.

Here are five great study habits every student should know and how to apply them. They all fit perfectly into the acconym: G.R.E.A.T.

    Great study habits for students

    Click above to see these tips presented on CTV Morning Live!

    Give yourself enough time to study

    1) Give yourself enough time to study.

    Plan it.  Schedule it. And start early. Plan a study block of time or study schedule so that you are only studying during the blocks and taking a break when you are not. This helps you to avoid cramming.

    How:  Use a visual schedule to chunk your time into blocks, this gives you an ability to be productive instead of worrying about all the things you need to do. Plus you know that there is a start and end to each task. It takes away anxiety and helps you plan out your studying. With younger kids, Easy Daysies was created by parent demand to help families at home plan out their day in “blocks of time”. This gives kids a clear picture of what their day looked like, and when expectations are laid out in front of them, they become more cooperative and independent and less anxious with their day. (https://shop.easydaysies.com/products/easy-daysies-starter-kit)

    Get enough sleep

    2) Rest up with enough sleep.

    When your child sleeps well, it helps them to process the information they learned that day.

    Studying before going to sleep has been proven to retain the most information. So the trick is to study before you go to sleep.

    Research has proven that sleep helps to retain the memories we form throughout the day. And conversely, being awake disrupts the processing of memories and causes us to forget some of what we’ve memorized or learned.  Therefore, avoid pulling an all-nighter.  

    According to the CDC ( Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), there are three ways to tell if your child is getting a good amount of sleep:

    1. They fall asleep easily, usually in less that 30 minutes.
    2. They wake up easily at the same time each morning.
    3. They are awake and alert throughout the day.

    So, if you are wondering how much sleep they need, the Centres for Disease and Control Prevention recommends:

    Age

    Hours of sleep

    4–12 months

    12–16

    1–2 years

    11–14

    3–5 years

    10–13

    6–12 years

    9–12

    13–18 years

    8–10

     

    How:

    Try to get the recommend hours of sleep as best as possible, and it is a great idea to schedule your study sessions before bedtime.

    exercise for teens

    3) Exercise has a great effect on thinking, memory, comprehension, and reasoning, both short and long term!

    When we exercise, it activates our sympathetic nervous system.  This is the part of your nervous system or brain that helps your body deal with stress. Your brain in response, fills with extra blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients, which then helps you to make big important decisions — – or really good choices!

    Also, part of your brain called the hippocampus is stimulated during exercise. This part of the brain is important for reasoning and memory. So, exercise helps in the short-term by improving cognition (thinking and memory), and the benefit of long term regular exercise, is that exercise can actually slow the aging process (or shrinking) of the hippocampus!  Hugely important!

    Exercise is also a great stress-reducer.

    The bottom line is that exercise increases blood flow in your brain and this directly relates with how well you retain information.

    The blood flow helps improve concentration and memory is triggered more effectively too.

    HOW:

    Right before a test, take a brisk walk around the block or hallways. Or perhaps, jog or do 30 jumping jacks. The blood flow will help your brain to work much better during the test.  Studying after sports practice is a good idea too.

    study area

    4) Arrange a study area, with easy access to supplies, in a quiet space.

    Set up a place that is uncluttered, if possible, a regular study spot, a desk with bright light.  Research shows that the brighter it is, the more focus and alert you will be to study.  Have a plant.  Studies show that a plant in the room will increase productivity by 15%!

    Find the perfect S.P.O.T.:

    Same consistent place to study.

    Plant – dieffenbachia (a tropical plant)or spider plant are great natural air purifiers.

    Open and Bright

    Tidy and uncluttered with easy to find supplies!

    take breaks from studying and reward yourself

    5) Take breaks and reward yourself at the end of each study block. Have you ever felt like you were reading the same paragraph over and over but did not even know what you were reading? We have all done it. When you break up long study sessions you will actually help your focus.

    Research shows that when people try to focus on a single task for a long period of time, concentration lessens and minds start to wander. Having a visual reward (a reward like a treat after each chapter read that you physically and visually place on the desk) has been proven to increase motivation.

    How:   When you are studying, take short breaks of about 5 minutes.  This will help you regain focus and study more effectively. Reward yourself by placing a treat  on your desk for when you complete the study block of time. (e.g. a piece of dark chocolate or any healthy brain snack https://www.easydaysies.com/food-for-healthy-brains-and-growing-bodies/) 

     

    Try one or two or all five of these habits and this year will be a much better learning experience for sure!