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7 Easy Tips For Improving Your Child’s Study Skills

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Parents do not like to compromise on their child’s academics! However, making your child study, remains to be the most frustrating part of their day. Even though there is no magic formula to make your child study better, these strategies will go a long way in building their study skills.

Study skills are the skills you need to enable you to study and learn efficiently – an often neglected, but an absolutely necessary skill. Here are 7 ways that you can help your child to study more efficiently:

  1. Short study sessions: Research proves that we learn better in shorter, regular sessions rather than setting aside a whole day or week trying to master a challenging math problem or a grammar point! Keep each session as long as 20-30 minutes. Use the Pomodoro method to help you. All you need is a kitchen timer or a phone which has a timer. Such short study sessions are motivating, less daunting and less tiresome.
  2. Maintain a routine: Negotiate with your child and set a study routine. To help your child settle into the routine, check which time they are most attentive- put the difficult subjects/ study areas in that study block. A routine killer is procrastination- saying to yourself “I’ll do this later” don’t fall in that trap. Remember to reward your child for not being lazy and sticking to the routine.
  3. Organise your study space: Set aside a place to study every day. Keep all you need ready before you start studying – pens, pencils, markers, notebooks etc. Watch this video to see “Tidy Up” queen Marie Kondo give some useful tips.
  4. Use flashcards: Rather than highlighting or underlining texts, use flashcards, these are perfect for short study sessions and will help you identify and note down the most important information. What’s more, you can carry them around and learn on the go- in a bus, in the car. And don’t forget to have fun with your flashcards- draw diagrams or even cartoons on them, write questions on them, use different colours. Having fun motivates you to study and helps aid memory. When the exam time comes closer, all you need to do is pull out the pack of flashcards and your last-minute revision notes are ready.
  5. Plan a study session with reachable goals: Decide with your child exactly what they’re going to study and focus on a single topic, concept or subject area. If children cram too many subjects or topics in one day, they get overwhelmed and start panicking. If they don’t achieve even one of those goals, they decide that they have failed and stop studying. When thinking of goals make it as specific as you can instead of saying “Today I will study Math” say that “Today I will complete this topic; XX number of sums/ 5 difficult sums in this topic from XXX book/website”. At the end of your study session, tick off the goals you have achieved
  6. Study actively: Just reading a text is not enough.  To help your child process, understand and remember information, try activities like sorting, mapping, sequencing, summarizing, self-quizzing etc. For example, if you’re studying a long history chapter with multiple dates, draw a timeline that will help you sort the events and remember them. Or in case of English, if you’re reading a difficult chapter or poem- try to summarize it in a few words or if you’re reading a story write the most important events of the story and sequence them to remember the story well.
  7. Listen to classical music: Ever wondered why it’s easier to memorize the lyrics of a song than the periodic table of elements? That’s because our brain looks for patterns to better understand, recall, and process information. Research suggests that THE ONLY genre of music that aids to learning and memory is classical music. So definitely go for Bach over Britney. Music not only betters your focus; it relieves stress and it is a performance booster. Here is a playlist you can listen to.

Try out these easy ways of improving your child’s skills and let us know how it goes. All the best!

-Ridhima Somaiya and Munira Hussain, Teachers British Council

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The Smile – Shritama Bose

Shritama Bose was raised inJamshedpur, where she attendedSacredHeartConventSchool. She is currently a second-year undergraduate student of English atPresidencyUniversity,Calcutta. Her interests include reading, debating, writing, and quizzing.

The man used to sit on the pavement in front of the florist’s shop. I had seen him on the first day when I had gone to place the order for the flowers. He would sit there on a faded tarpaulin sheet in a tattered blue-and-white polyester shirt. His wrinkled face was framed by tousled salt-and-pepper hair, with the salt overpowering the pepper by far. He worked with shining brass-like wires, shaping them into bicycles and cycle-rickshaws of at least three different sizes. As he worked assiduously at them, a constant unfading smile played on his lips.

As I approached him for a better view of his artifacts, he looked up at me. The smile was still there; he was directing it at me, not smiling at me. His eyes creased into wrinkles as he did that. I knelt down to examine one of the largest pieces. I was taken aback by the sheer quality of the work. It testified to being the handiwork of a true craftsman- the bends in the wires were smooth, the knots strong yet subtle. Particularly remarkable was the way in which the thinnest of the wires had been interwoven into a mesh of kite-like shapes to create the seats of cycle-rickshaws. If this man had indeed crafted the pieces himself, he deserved a station higher than a spot on a Lajpat Nagar pavement. I found out the prices- the smaller of the biycles were worth Rs 10 each, the bigger worth Rs 25, the small and big rickshaws worth Rs 35 and Rs 70 respectively. I wanted a rickshaw with its mesh-seat. However, having had my share of raw deals in the city, I did not dare to go for the biggest one. I settled for a small rickshaw, duly handed over to me with a- rather the- smile.

The next day and the one after that, I found groups of foreign tourists huddled around the smiling man’s spot. On the fourth day, I went to the florist’s shop to collect the consignment. The shop-assistant was packing the flowers when I, unable to resist the urge, asked him, “What is that man’s name? The one selling those miniature bicycles?”

The assistant looked out in the direction of my pointed finger. He then replied, “You mean Rashid?”

“Yes. How long has he been here?”

“Two years ago, he was dismissed from this very shop. Very slow in making bouquets. Kept fiddling with the wires. They removed him and took away the bicycle they had given him. Now he makes these things and gives the neighbouring handicraft stores a run for their money.”

As I walked out with my flowers, I turned to look at that spot. The tarpaulin looked more faded than ever, the smile did not.

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