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Tips to Help Child Develop Study Skills

Find out how to inculcate effective study skills in children that transform their handwork into academic gains and provide an enriching learning experience.

In spite of the study skills being a learned behavior which improves with diligent practice, still parents have to deal with children lack of interest in studies and stay worried about child's academic gains and grades. Mostly because when it comes to study we overlook certain key aspects impacting learning, like managing emotions, keeping distractions away and having a clear study plan.

So how to help children develop strong study skills. Here are some tips!

Tips to Help Child Develop Study Skills

Photo by Kuanish Reymbaev on Unsplash

How to help child develop study skills?

Children need to study to learn, retain and apply. This requires active listening, comprehension, and memorization. Inculcating right study skills helps children learn and retain more. But the big question is how to get your child to develop study skills.

Use these strategies to inculcate study habits in children that reduces your daily struggle and sets the stage for their future performance.

Paying Attention to work in hand:

Children need to pay attention at the memory forming stage to increase recall. Attention is the key to effective learning. It’s about selectively choosing what to consciously commit to memory.

Paying complete attention to the work in hand gives great results. Sadly, in the world full of distractions, attention is waning day by day.

Unless children learn to give their complete focus while studying, they won’t retain what they learnt and that would lead to ineffective studying.

But capturing and holding their attention is a challenge. Mostly because they have a shorter attention span, they need fun and engaging activity, and typically they don’t consider study as their responsibility. You can help your child learn to pay attention, but it requires a conscious effort.

Less attention – Less retention – less recal

RELATED: Ways to improve your child’s attention

Plan a schedule, fix study time and follow it:

Ask your children to prepare a study schedule to know what they are going to learn.

Following a schedule creates accountability, discipline, and time management.

Also, both of you get to know what they have achieved in the given time. This could reduce your daily stress and children won’t be crammed with last-minute completion.

To establish a routine, choose a time and place which they can follow on a daily basis. You need to be firm about the consistency. Ensure they don’t skip the schedule.

RELATED: How to establish study sessions

Have a clear learning goals:

When children are unclear what to study, they ramble, turn pages and waste time.

Instead, ask them to set their clear goals in the beginning.

Break down goals into achievable tasks by dividing the course into sub-units, chapters, and assign time to each one.

Based on that, identify each day’s study goal. What am I going to complete today?

So at the end, they know how much they achieved.

Learn to identify key information:

They have access to a sea of information, but limited time. How to make the most of it?

The best way is to learn to decipher what is important and what is irrelevant. And then place attention where it is needed the most. Otherwise, it gets overwhelming.

During comprehension, learn to segregate important information from the supporting one and when the information has stopped adding value.

  • Approach passages by looking out for main ideas and key concepts.

  • Take out the key details and write it down.

  • Don’t overlook anything. Read to understand if needed reread, but focus on the main information.

  • Look for semantic clues like bullets, heading, examples to retrieve key information.

  • Identify answers for compelling question.

  • And skim unwanted details.

Explain in simple words:

Children can try Feynman Technique to comprehend better. Feynman technique is about explaining a tough concept into simpler terms. Using this technique, children can identify gaps in their knowledge.

Ask them to pick a tough topic and try explaining themselves in a simpler way. If they can explain a complex concept in simple terms, they have a good understanding of the concept at hand.

Or try teaching others to learn better. Pick up a chapter and see how to teach it to someone else. Doing that improves own learning.

How to use this technique?

  • Pick a topic or concept to learn

  • Go through it

  • Think they have to teach this concept to someone who knows nothing about the subject

  • Now try explaining the concept in simple terms

  • If you get stuck, go back and read again to grasp the information

  • This technique helps to get clarity on the topic.

Arrange and organise the information:

Some children struggle to organize their thoughts into a logical coherence that makes sense. Or they study in a disorganized, haphazard way, and only be motivated by the threat of the upcoming test. This makes retrieval difficult.

Storing information in a structured and organised way supports better retention and recall. This can be done by the brain, by placing similar things together.

Like how you organise a cupboard: it’s easier to get stuff from a sorted and arranged cupboard than from a dumped mess.

How to group information:

Group similar concept together:

Grouping, also called chunking, helps in memorizing difficult items.

Try to group similar concept terms together for retention.

Here are some ways to organize:

• Use mind map or add visual

• Make flashcards

• Take up any difficult item and visualise it.

• Use a binder to separate and organize worksheets

• Color code notes with pens or highlighters

Rule of three:

Brains cling to the patterns. Try using ‘rule of three’: find out if you can chunk the information them into a group of three. Because the information presented in groups of three sticks in our heads better than other clusters of items.

Make Review and Practice a habit:

Rehearsing and recalling information over the period of time creates neural pathways. The more they rehearse, the better they get.

To memorise what you learn, you need to rehearse it. Children often read over and over mindlessly because learning without a context is difficult. Adding meaning, connection to what they are trying to learn improves retention.

Build Association:

To memorise information, try making associations. Learning anything without a context is tough. Help children to make association with what they already know to something they want to learn. Relate new information to existing one. They can continue learning new concepts built upon previous coursework.

Because ‘Memories are stored as a network of related items. These items are part of a shared whole. Any one item serves as a cue for retrieving other parts of the memory network. Dragging out one item in the network often drags the whole network of memory items into conscious awareness’[1].

How to build association:

Take the information, create an interesting association with what they already know with what they want to learn.

Even for revision, instead of mindlessly repeating add images, funny lines, related items.

Try to link and make sense out of what to learn

Adding emotion increases retention.

Reposition difficult information:

Have you heard of ‘serial position effect’? Hermann Ebbinghaus, a psychologist, discovered that you remember more items at the beginning and at the end of the study session than the middle. That’s why chances are that children would remember first and last information more than the middle one.

Then, how to retain maximum information?

  • Ask them to shuffle and reposition what they studied.

  • Use Flash cards where post one question on one side and answer on another side.

  • Mix up these cards. Now pick questions to answer. In this way, they cover maximum information.

  • Mind picks easy over difficult. For difficult information, pay more attention and vary structure. That way, they can avoid overlooking or leaving it.

  • Beak big and tough problems into small chunks to tackle one at a time.

  • Focus on what is in the moment instead of learning all in one go.

Use resources based on learning style:

Not everyone learns the same way. Different people learn differently. Try to find out what is your child learning style. How do they learn better - is it by listening, watching, doing, or feeling? Identify whether they are visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners. So they can try learning the way they understand better.

To know more about learning styles, watch this TED talk.

Take notes:

  • Note could help in memorising. To take effective notes:

  • Write clearly

  • Note down key information, but not all information

  • Structure notes where the top heading includes the main topic, the second heading is the sub-topic, and the third heading includes a supporting fact.

  • Organise notes

  • Review notes

  • And write down questions

  • Take notes based on learning style

  • Try using the Cornell System for Notes Taking


These are few of the ways in which children can effectively grasp what they are learning. Using certain strategy, you can increase the retention and recall. That’ what most of the mom’s objective. Cheers to you.

Leave your strategy, how do you help your children in learning. We will be glad to hear from you.

[1] Learn by Making Associations | Psychology Today

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Hi there! I’m Muzna, the Founder and Editor of The Bliss Key, I live in San Francisco with my family and by profession I’m an eLearning consultant with more than a decade of experience, and a degree in Business Management and Instructional Design

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