Trying to get your kids to succeed in school can be a tough challenge. The fact of the matter is: Most kids don’t really enjoy studying and doing homework, regardless of race, gender, or nationality.
The stereotype goes that the Chinese tend to have extremely disciplined study habits, that they outperform many Western students, and that they’re destined for top universities and high-paying jobs. Luckily, their success is not a matter of winning the genetic lottery, and it doesn’t require the strict, authoritarian parenting style made infamous in popular television series and movies.
In fact, there are a few simple tips and tricks we can take away from Chinese students and their parents which can help our kids on their own paths to success!
- Get a study desk.
Do your kids study and do their homework in front of the television? At the kitchen table? Or in some other space which isn’t dedicated to their studies? If so, here’s your first step toward encouraging good study habits.
Get your kid a study desk. No, the computer desk, which has room for little more than a mouse, keyboard, and widescreen monitor. A study desk needs to be a place your kid can sit down, open up a textbook, and take notes. It should be neat and clutter-free, a place dedicated to studying.
- Check out the library (Get it? Check out? Like you check out a book?)
Sometimes studying at home can be distracting, and a distracted student is seldom a good one. Many young Chinese students will study at the library, instead.
I know what you’re thinking: At the library, you don’t get to supervise what your kids are doing and how they’re spending their time, and maybe they’re just a bit too young to be out there on their own.
If your kids have tablets or smartphones, then it doesn’t matter where they are. If they want to play on these devices at home, they’ll get to it the moment you turn your head away. Yes, they’ll have the same opportunities to squander their work time at the library. But unlike at home, the library offers fewer distractions and an environment which encourages quiet concentration.
If you’re afraid to leave your kids alone at the library, consider accompanying them (at a distance) and letting them know you’re nearby if they need you.
- Make study a routine.
Study habits are called habits for a reason. Many Chinese students will study and do homework for an hour each day at a set time. This time isn’t broken up to watch a favorite TV show, eat a snack, or play games, it’s an hour dedicated to studying.
The beauty of it is that although a full hour of study each day is above the average for a lot of Western students, because the work is concentrated into a single unbroken time period, kids are free to enjoy the rest of the day after they’ve finished their study time. This reduces stress over deadlines and unpreparedness and allows them to get more enjoyment out of other activities.
You might get some backlash from your kids, but after a couple of weeks, it will become second nature, and they’ll be better off for it.
You don’t need to be a tyrant to see straight A’s on your kids’ report cards. By taking a few easy steps, you can significantly improve your kids’ academic discipline and set them on the road to success at school.
What do you do to encourage your kids’ academic achievement?