How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently

How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently. A question many parents are searching the answer for.

It’s 5 in the evening and young Ayesha is watching her favourite youtube channel.

“Study something or read something at least,” her mom calls out to her. This is the 10th time since morning Ayesha’s mom has repeated those words. 
“Yeah Mom,” Ayesha calls back. “In a minute.”
Ayesha’s mom rolls her eyes and wishes there was some way to get her child to study.

These are unprecedented times. I am sure you’ve heard that several times in the last month. And they are. Everyone we know including we ourselves have been grounded by the higher power. We are either working from home or not working at all. Our children are enjoying an unscheduled holiday. You, like Ayesha’s mom, believe your child should be studying for a minimum number of hours. We know the curriculum. We may even have the text books. Some of us do not hesitate to use force to take the horse to the water. The big question is how to make the horse drink. Is it possible to turn around the age old saying: You can take the horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink?

How Do I Teach My Child to Study – Parents in a dilemma

Some parents have realised that just making children sit down with books or making them do the math sums is not helping. Those working from home wonder how teachers do this everyday. Their own work is affected and it becomes a choice between doing work and helping our children. Other parents who choose to brave sitting down with their children feel exhausted, even comatose, by the end of the day. How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently becomes a whole new level of mind games.

uncomplicate success How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently
Doing your own work or spending time with your child?

Organise the Day – Set a Time Table 

Apart from giving children your complete attention for a part of the day, you should have a time table. A time table will help you organise what subjects to tackle on a given day, the time to be allotted per session and when to take breaks.

Try pairing difficult subjects with easy subjects. One difficult subject per day and one or two easy subjects can balance your time table for you. Here too I would advise starting with the difficult subject, because as the day wears on your child will get tired and his alertness will go down. At that time you want to teach him stuff that is easy on his capacity to absorb.

How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently time table uncomplicate success
Setting the timetable is not about what time should something be scheduled but also why it should be.

Spread Out The Study Time

A big mistake we make while trying to set a time table is that we try to mirror the school time table. We should not expect classroom timings from our kids. At school it is a herd mentality scenario. Everyone is going to class when the bell rings. Most children enjoy it because their friends are there with them, others go to class to blend with the herd and hide in the back benches. Private tutors too have limited time so they dedicate certain numbers of hours to your child, before moving on to the next house. You should make a timetable that helps you and your child to enjoy studies because you cannot suddenly change into a teacher when you sit with your child. You are still a mother or a father.

I would recommend the Pomodoro technique. That is to study for half an hour to 45 minutes and take a break of 10 to 15 minutes. That way you don’t burden the child with too much work. You believe your child is studying for 8 to 9 hours every day, poor angel. But the truth is children may lose interest in stuff they don’t like in 15 to 20 minutes. Also you don’t have to take all the subjects in one day. Try for a target of maximum 3 subjects in a day. You need to teach your child to study not force them to do it.

Also Read: How to Create Interest in Studies or Subjects and Topics you Dislike

Take Advantage of the Internet

There are so many resources online these days including Khan Academy and YouTube teachers that you find every topic under the sun. Math exponents, Physics Kinetic matter, you name it. When you divide your child’s day for studies. Give them some video time – for things you can teach and things you cannot. When they watch a video, you can then sit down with them and practically understand what they learned. Make them do a sum or ask them to explain in their own words. If you don’t know the topic then sit down with them when they are watching the video.

What does your child love doing?

Our children are spending their time playing games, watching television or videos, spending time on social media etc. If you leave them be, you’ll notice that they never get tired of these activities. They’ll take loo breaks and come to us for food. Sometimes you have to make them go to sleep, even when they have been playing their favourite game or binge watching TV for the whole day. You’d expect them to get bored or give up after a day or two. But they are back to it everyday without fail. 

How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently distractions
Spending time on the phone is become the favourite activity of children

I want to have what she’s having

Haha. Those lines from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ will definitely bring a smile to your face if you know the context. Here what I want to emphasize is the fact that we need to understand what these activities are giving them/ offering them. These activities are your competition and you should beat the competition at their game. 

As a content marketing professional, I know that that to lure in customers I have to speak their and offer them what they want. These could be solutions to their problems or giving directions to aspirations. Unfortunately, none of what you are offering entices children to come and sit down to study. So let’s break it down further. According to Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked, a book that explores how social media and gaming keeps you engaged, distractions usually cater to the curiosity of the mind. This could be FOMO – Fear of missing out. People who are continuously watching social media or playing games, do not want to miss out what their friends are doing or not play the latest update. Also at the same time they are getting a reward from their activities. The reward may be to find out the latest video by the favourite channel, news and gossip about whoever they are following, or a win in the video game. Winner winner Chicken dinner anybody? So to teach your child to sit down and study independently you should have a lure. Your lure could be a reward they want. In other words the activities they will be yearning to do. Like watching the shows and playing their favourite games after they finish the study schedule.

How Do I Teach My Child to Study Independently I'll have what she's having
Make sure you know what your children want.

Get involved

If you want your children to study on their own, you will have to get involved. Many parents make the mistake of ordering the child to do something and then expect the child to finish it – be it homework, set timetable of subjects or daily chores – by themselves. They believe it teaches them responsibility. That may well work for some children but not for all. Most children need reminding over and over again like Ayesha. The trick here is to sit with them and show interest in what they do. Like an astute public speaker who livens up the audience when he sees interest levels go down, you too will have to learn to keep interest levels high. While explaining try to use the examples of things they take interest in. Like their games or favourite programs. Show them how to sit for studies on time and make sure they take their breaks.

Break time is important too

Don’t conveniently forget break time. Remind them to take a break according to schedule. Don’t insist if they get involved in a certain lesson. Your aim should be to gradually break free once their schedule is set. It takes approximately a month to get into a certain habit. So you’ll have to endure it till then. You’ll get long term benefits out of this exercise. You can be involved during the break too. You could give them loo breaks and maybe steal some time to indulge your own FOMO and check your messages. However, during the rest of the break time do yoga or some exercise with them to calm the mind down. Maybe play a little game or listen to music.

Set goals

Ultimately set goals so they know what to complete but the end of the day, week and month. You could finish a lesson in 2 or 3 days thoroughly. At the end you could have an assessment, oral or written. If there are sections in the textbook, you could give yourself and your child a deadline to finish it.

Keep away from distractions

Television time and video time should be at the end of the study day. The breaks in between could be small chores and games or anything that takes around 10 to 15 minutes. If children take to social media or television during the break, it becomes difficult to pull them away for the next session. Also you will have to take care that the place you study should not have these distractions nearby. A television, even if it is turned off is a big distraction. Mobile phones keep sending notifications, which distract everyone. That includes you. Your own phone should be away during this period. You will have to lead by example and keep the phone away while studying with your child.

Hope these tips will help you teach your child to study independently and have fun study periods. Don’t forget that having fun is included during the complete time table. Best of luck!