As students prepare for exams before winter break, many are having a hard time getting and staying focused when their cell phones are inches away. We know taking away these electronics will cause a battle and result in an argument, but how do we get them to focus on studying and not Snapchat? Today, I interviewed with WTOP radio about top apps that students can download to focus and finish.
How do you encourage your child to develop good study habits?
One thing we know for certain is that each child faces their own unique challenges when it comes to studying; But what we’ve found that it’s common for kids to procrastinate because they feel overwhelmed and underprepared. So they will put off studying when there’s a lot to do, especially for a quarter test or mid-term exam. And if you have a kid like that, start off by asking powerful questions.
Instead of “Have you studied?” ask, “What are the three things you’re going to do to get ready for that exam?” or, “How will you know you’ve studied successfully?” By asking questions, you’re not telling your child what to do, you’re helping them to figure it out with a bit of guidance.
With so many assignments online these days, it seems like kids are more distracted than ever by their computers.
Yes, that’s absolutely true. Think of it from your child’s point of view. Would you rather scroll through your twitter feed or study for math? Play Minecraft or complete that study guide? For most kids, technology is much more interesting. And although it can be a distraction, technology can also be an advantage.
I love the apps Self Control for Mac and Stay Focused for PCs. They both allow kids to blacklist websites they deem to be distracting (Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, whatever it may be) for a certain period of time, say 20 or 30 minutes, so they can focus on what they should be doing – studying.
What about the phone? I bet that distracts kids even more than what’s on their computer screen.
Yes, and kids think nothing of having their phone in hand while studying, but they really do not need it to study – even if they say they do! It’s okay to have a basket labeled, “electronics go here” say to your kids, “put your phone here until you’re done studying and then it’s all yours.” If this might be hard for you, another option is an app called Forest. Whenever kids want to focus, they click the app to plant a tree. In the time they set, say 20 minutes, a tree will grow while they’re studying. But, if they leave the app, the tree will wither and die. So the harder they work and study, the lusher their forest is, and that’s motivating to kids!