Regardless of you/your child’s age, grade/level, curriculum, or area of interest, studying can be a challenge and, unfortunately, create some stress. However, it is necessary for all programs, schools, and learning areas! Studying is also a positive life skill that can prepare your child for future responsibility and ownership (of both school and work).
Fortunately, there are ways to make studying less stressful.
From thinking about the practice of studying differently (as a habit rather than a chore), to creating a sacred ‘space’ to make the time spent more comfortable, you can help your child gain a more positive perspective around studying as well as create an individualized plan that will support his/her needs.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Try To Make Studying Fun
It’s hard to make studying fun sometimes. . . and even harder to motivate yourself to learn (or to teach your child to be self-motivated). Fortunately, there are resources such as https://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/sudoku/subscriptions/ which can help to improve your study methods, as well as motivational techniques that you can fall back (which can ‘shake’ your mind out of negative thinking to be more aware of what you’re studying and why).
The hardest thing to do is to keep the subject that you are learning in your head because sometimes it can feel overwhelming. . . but, challenge yourself to think of it as one big memory game! If you gamify your/your child’s studying, they will feel intrinsically rewarded (beyond the grade).
2. Put On (Non-Distracting) Music
Not everybody can concentrate with background noise, but there are certain types of background noise that can really help. Spotify and YouTube both have excellent playlists that are titled ‘focus music,’ and these generally tend to be gentle jazz, soft orchestral, piano and even Mozart.
If you/your child(ren) like Mozart, the clarinet concerto is one of the best things to listen to when you’re studying. The music itself can make you feel inspired and motivated to keep learning.
3. Turn Your Notes Into Music
Music can help you learn! A small (and fun!) suggestion is to create a song and/or sing your study notes. Of course, you can change the way they’re written so they have a better beat to them, and you can even rap your notes if that feels more natural to you!
If you’re great at remembering lyrics to songs (because the melody helps to cement the words in your mind), use this strategy with your notes! If you sing your notes to the same rhythm or melody of your favorite music, you can naturally learn them quicker (and without it feeling like work).
4. Use Technology To Support You
There are so many ways that you can use technology to help you/your child memorize study notes. Apps like Quizlet, and Kazoot work well because they can all help you to generate quizzes of your own questions and use them as flashcards back to yourself.
Interactive learning materials help you to immerse yourself in the learning experience. There is even software out there for multimedia information to help you absorb content easier, including audio, video and quizzes.
It may also help you to use a VARK survey, to find out what type of learner you are. Once you know that, you will be able to adjust your studying around the type of learner that you are. For example, audio listeners tend to prefer to hear all the explanations to their written notes.
5. Create/Use Flashcards
Flashcards are actually a classic revision technique and they have been a useful resource for revision for years. In fact, it’s actually easier to absorb and remember bite sized pieces of information instead of pages of notes!
Chances are, when you start small, you can trigger your brain to remember more content from the keywords. Once you see the keywords or phrases, the rest of the information will naturally follow.
6. Make Visuals + Posters
It may help you/your child to create posters of information as visual cues. You can also place these posters around your house/work area to continually spark your memory.
For example, you can add your poster(s) above the kitchen sink while you are washing the dishes, or they can even be next to the bath while you relax! You can design a poster to illustrate processes, complete with colorful diagrams, drawings, keywords in bright letters – no matter what you need to study you can create it visually. This will help you to gradually absorb all of that information, and it won’t feel like traditional studying, which will feel less stressful!
7. Create A Comfortable Study Environment
One of the best ways to make studying less stressful is to create a comfortable study environment. Make sure that you/your child is in a comfortable, well lit area, that you have snacks and drinks with you, and access to a bathroom.
It may help to get rid of any family or friend distractions, but if you/your child prefers to study in a group of people, that works, too (depending on the ability to focus).
If you’re not comfortable in your studying environment, you’re going to be more tempted to get up and move around rather than actually focus on the work you’re doing. Being comfortable makes it much easier to create mnemonics for your notes, and help you to learn purposefully.
8. Use Diagrams To Help You
Often, flow charts and diagrams that you create (with color and variation!) will help you to learn the notes you need to learn. Drawings and diagrams can often help the facts to stick in your mind for longer. Plus – it makes the work far more interesting to learn!
Diagrams in essays can also create structure around your points, as well as provide further clarification of concepts.
9. Take Breaks
If you want make studying less stressful, create a schedule that incorporates plenty of breaks. Working without rest (regardless of your age, level/grade, or content) is just not conducive to learning!
If you incorporate a break into your study time, and use this time to get outside and breathe a different air, you’re going to be less stressed while you study and you’re going to give yourself time to clear your head before diving back in.
There is such a thing as too much information, and the information that you absorb while you’re studying is far easier to retain if you remember that you are not a machine.
10. Prioritize Engaging Aesthetics
Even though this may seem silly, one of the best ways to make something less stressful and more fun is to create aesthetic appeal. Notebooks, pens, coloring pens, highlighters – anything that makes you feel good, colorful, or fun can help you to get focused on your work!
For other studying tips, head to our main blog page!
Featured Image Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom
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