Homework & study skills

7 Tips for Improving Your Child’s Homework and Study Skills

By Amanda Morin

173Found this helpful

Homework and studying can be a source of stress for kids and parents alike. Having good study habits in place can reduce that stress. Here are some ideas for improving kids’ homework and study skills.

173Found this helpful
Close up of a boy doing homework in his room
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Create a homework station.

It doesn’t matter whether there’s a space in your house set aside for homework or a portable homework station. Having a place to keep everything your kid needs for homework can help prevent organization issues and homework battles.

Help your child stock his station with paper, sharpened pencils and other supplies he’ll need daily. When he sits down to work, make sure he has enough light and few distractions. And when he’s done, have him do a quick check to see if anything needs to be replaced for tomorrow.

Sisters lying on their bed writing in a notebook together
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Use checklists.

There’s something very rewarding about being able to cross a task off a checklist. You can help your child learn how good that feels as well as teach him how to keep track of homework. All he needs is a small pad of paper on which he can list his assignments for the day. As he completes each one, he can cross it off the list.

Overhead view of a girl reading and taking notes on her computer
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Create a homework schedule.

A homework schedule can help your child set a specific time for studying (and schedule in breaks between subjects). Help your kid find a time of day when he’s able to concentrate, when you’re available to help and when he’s not in a hurry to get somewhere else.

A homework schedule can also help him keep track of long-term assignments and upcoming tests. Use a large wall calendar to write down due dates and tests. Then your child can work backward to add in study days before tests and break projects down into smaller chunks.

Teen boy getting sleepy doing homework at his computer
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Choose and use a homework timer.

Homework timers are a great way to help keep an easily distracted child on track. A timer can also give your kid a better sense of time.

There are many types of timers to choose from—what’s best depends on your child. If he’s distracted by sounds, a ticking kitchen timer may not be the ideal choice. Instead, try an hourglass timer or one that vibrates.

There are also homework timer apps that you can program for each subject. And don’t forget that your phone probably has a timer built right in, too!

Teen girl carrying colorful notebooks
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Use a color-coding system.

Using colored dot stickers, highlighters, and colored folders and notebooks is a great (and inexpensive) way to keep organized. Ask your child to choose a color for each subject. Have him mark assignment due dates and test dates on the calendar with a sticker of the right color.

Before you file homework assignments and study guides in the appropriate notebook or folder, use a highlighter or sticker to mark the page with the right color. That way if the paper falls out, your child will know what class it’s for.

Sisters picking pizza slices out of the box
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Mix it up a little.

For some kids, studying is tough because they need to learn material in different ways. If your child is having a hard time with a writing assignment, help him talk it through or act it out first. Use vocabulary words in everyday conversation—even if you have to be silly about it.

For math, use household items to help him figure out problems. Teach fractions with slices of pizza, for example. And help your child learn spelling words by letting him text them to you. You can even help him master new facts by setting them to music!

Mother checking her son’s progress with homework
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Check in and check up.

You can’t do your child’s homework for him, but you can make sure he’s doing it himself. Checking in to see if he needs help or just to let him know you’re around may ease his homework stress. And don’t forget to look over his work at the end of the day, too!

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About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

More by this author

Reviewed by Ginny Osewalt Mar 26, 2014 Mar 26, 2014

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