Back to School: Studying and test-taking tips

You can lend a hand on homework — but make sure your child is grasping the lesson.

Your children’s homework and tests help prepare them for the world outside of school. For now, though, good grades are the goal. Boston-based pediatrician Dr. Claudia Gold, author of  “Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums, and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World through Your Child’s Eyes,” provides tips to help you guide the students in your life through their academic pursuits.
 
Homework
 
Create a schedule conducive to success.
“For some, it works best if they do [homework] right away. Others need a break for physical activity or relaxation. In general, children should have control over when they do their homework in a way that is developmentally appropriate.”
 
Don’t take over your child’s assignments.
“Most of the problems that occur involve conflict between the parent and the child.”
 
Refuel before tackling assignments. “Fruit, cereal or even a sandwich are good choices.”

Time management
 
Allow for breaks. “Some kids, particularly those with problems of self-regulation, may need to take regular breaks from homework and studying to engage in calming self-regulating activities such as walking, running, art or music.”
 
Be reasonable. Keep in mind that all students learn at different rates so some may need more time than others. “Time management has to be tailored to the characteristics of the child. It has to be individualized to the child’s particular needs.”

Studying
 
Limit Internet capabilities if needed. “At some schools, they turn off access to Facebook during study hall hours. Something like that is useful around studying.”
 
Let failures be a learning experience
. “In terms of letting kids take charge, middle school is a really good place to follow that rule. Then you can see what the problems are and you can fix them before they get to high school.”

Test-taking
   
Have them prepare to adapt. “In general, kids do not have control over the environment and the way tests are given, and they need to learn how to accommodate. If the kid does have attention problems or does have particular issues, there need to be accommodations in place for that child.”
   
Prep their bodies. “Getting sufficient sleep and having nutritious food are good preparations for a test.”


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