Back-to-school season is in full swing, and that means it’s time to establish a study routine.

Now that the school year is well underway, it’s also time to make sure your family has a study plan to tackle lessons and learning from the get-go. Parents can help kids with a few simple tips for getting into the groove of back-to-the-books studying and homework.

Set Your Kids up for Success

Set up a quiet study space: Whether it’s a desk in the corner of the bedroom or a study nook in the family room, students need a dedicated space to really hit the books. Is it quiet? Is it away from multimedia distractions? Find the right spot in your home to create the best atmosphere so they can buckle down for success.

Set goals: Regardless of your child’s age, it’s beneficial to help walk and talk them through what they want to accomplish this year. Does one child want to ace the algebra exams this year? Does another want to make the school play, or earn a spot on the soccer team? Talk to your kids about their passions and what they want to achieve—then help them create a plan to meet those goals.

Make ground rules: Maybe it’s setting a routine time for studying after school, before bed, or a ‘no TV or cell phone’ rule during study hours. Agreed upon ground rules keep the family on the same page and frustrations at bay. Understand the family’s routine and plan around that.

Keep a planner: It’s important for busy families and students to track far more than just homework. Even younger students can learn to keep track of all activities and chart a course for the week. Help the kids track study times, test dates, extracurricular commitments like dance class, band practice, or sports practices. Even helping the kids keep track of holidays, conference days, and family activities will help reduce stress and let everybody see the big picture.

Get organized: Everybody has a different way to organize work, projects, and activities. Help your child find out the best way to organize their work: do they prefer a different folder for each class? Or is a large binder with color-coded tabs best? Keep it simple to make it easier to stay the course with homework.

Get into a routine: Studying a little every day is a far better approach than cramming for a test or a term paper at the last minute. Pick the best time of day to work a little on projects or reading—researching a little everyday for that term paper makes it easier to thread notes and thoughts into a successful and stress-free draft.

Save the easiest assignment for last: Just get ‘er done! Tackling the most challenging assignment first alleviates worry and fret. Stay focused on the bigger project and then dive into the more bite-sized lessons.

Grab a study buddy: You know the old adage ‘Two heads are better than one?’ Sometimes it’s just more fun to stir it up and study with someone—let alone more productive to share ideas and solutions. While a desk at home is a good fallback spot to focus, the local library or coffeeshop could offer options for students who want to study together.

Ask for help: Make sure your student knows that an open door of communication with both teachers and parents is OK! If you just don’t understand the assignment or how another peer got to that math equation, ask. That’s what teachers and
staff are there for.

Stay healthy: Remember that plenty of rest, daily exercise, and a healthy diet make studying and focus all that much easier—at any age! While we all get busy with activities and plans during the school year, it pays in dividends to keep to a routine bedtime, stock the fridge with plenty of healthy snacks and foods, and make sure the kids have time for outdoor play and activity.

Now, let’s hit the books! It’s going to be a great year.