New Year, New Habits – 6 tips to start the year right !

08 Jan 2018


A new year is equivalent to a new chapter in a young child’s life. Whatever their age, it’s never too early to learn from the mistakes made in the previous year, or simply to make the new academic year a smoother one. Good habits ensure that good routines are set in place throughout the week, reducing the potential for mishaps and unwanted issues from arising. Listed below are some suggestions for good habits to start this new year. Give them a go!

Time flies when you are enjoying it. Set your child some good habits for the year, before it’s too late!
  1. Get Organized. With homework, tests, and co-curricular activities, it’s all too easy for things to slip one’s mind. A planner can help your child keep everything organised. Students should write down assignments, appointments and to-do lists, then review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track. Keeping the planner simple, such as using abbreviations, and getting one that is light and portable, would also help in ensuring your child consistently uses it.
  2. Know the Expectations. Students shouldn’t have any surprises when it comes to how and what they will be assessed on. Whether in Primary or Secondary School, teachers will provide a course outline or syllabus, which can serve as a guide for the semester. If expectations aren’t clear, don’t wait until bad results appear in the report card. Your child should feel comfortable approaching teachers with questions about grading and assignments at any time. If this is not the case, it may be time for you as a parent to step in and lend a helping hand.
A conducive study area is half the battle won. Start Spring Cleaning now!
  1. Designate a Study Area. Yes, studying at the hip coffee joint may seem like a good idea, but not if there are constantly people interrupting or other disruptions. Even when at home, studying in front of the television won’t be the best use of your child’s time. Help your child by providing a quiet, well-lit, low-traffic space for study time. Take it one step further and implement a “no-device” policy with no cell phones or social media allowed until schoolwork is done.
  2. Develop a Study Plan. First things first: students need to know when a test will take place, the types of questions that will be included and the topics that will be covered. From there, your child should create a study plan and allow ample time to prepare – there’s nothing worse than cramming the night before an exam or test. You can help by buying a wall calendar and asking him or her to assign topics and tasks for each day leading up to the assessment. Setting goals for each session is also key to success.
  3. Practise Active Listening. It’s important for students to concentrate and avoid distractions when a teacher is conducting a lesson. Some tips to share with your child include: try concentrating on the main points being made, think about what the teacher is saying and take notes as teachers tend to give important clues to those who pay attention. They should avoid talking or thinking about problems when listening. If a teacher says, “This is important” or “I’ll write this on the board,” there’s a high possibility you will see the concept pop up in the exam.
  4. Read Actively. It’s all too easy for students to skim over an assigned book chapter or paragraphs of text and  still not know the main points of what they had just read. Help your child to practise active reading by asking him or her to note the main idea of each passage and look up unfamiliar words or concepts. Make an outline of the chapter or create flow charts and diagrams that help map out the key concepts at hand. After each section, have your child write a summary in their own words and come up with possible exam questions. Simplicity is key – get your child to write as short a summary (or in key points) as possible, and spend some time to talk to him or her, and ask for a verbal elaboration of the summarised concepts.

Practise active reading helps get the child remember the key points better.

As life could get as fast-paced and busy at any time, it is important that you get your children started on at least one of these habits (if they haven’t already started on some alternative of it), catered to your child and even your own comfort level. Try your very best to start soon on good habits, as the longer you wait, the longer the bad habits encroach – and we wouldn’t want that! All the best for the rest of the new year!