8 Ways to Help Kids Find Study/Life Balance
Learning| By Amy Vagne | April 17, 2020
Life is a juggling act and helping kids learn good time management for healthy study/life balance is just as important as teaching them to tie their shoelaces.
These days parents are continually striving to hit their own optimal work/life balance and kids need balance, too. It’s likely they’ll need your help to schedule revision and study time, lock in play dates and birthday parties, and build in all-important downtime.
A balanced approach, coupled with early learning around time management, can boost wellbeing now and help set up useful habits for the future. Here are a few ways to help your kids find study/life balance and maintain a healthy equilibrium.
Teach Kids the Value of Organisation
Seeing the big picture and knowing what’s coming up can help kids feel less anxious and more in control. In fact, studies have linked being organised (or even feeling organised) with mental wellbeing and reduced stress levels, anxiety and depression.
It’s smart to invest in a diary or planner and spend some time mapping out the week ahead. Make note of sports training, music lessons and play dates, as well as any assignment due dates on the horizon. We don’t suggest timetabling every minute of every day; on the contrary, having a loose schedule for after-school time might boost productivity and make kids feel happier and more grounded.
Block out time for mandatory tasks such as practising the piano or doing homework. Young children may benefit from a to-do list they can check off as they go.
What to Try
Promote Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Kids
Working too much is bad for your health. Need proof? One study has linked overtime with higher rates of depression, while other researchers linked long working hours to a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The point is, it’s important to encourage good school/life balance for students with plenty of satisfying downtime, and ensure that both their physical health and mental wellbeing remain top priorities.
Aim for a healthy lifestyle with nutritious snacks, keep children well hydrated and ensure they get between 9 and 11 hours’ sleep each night. Plenty of time outdoors is good too; it’s important for kids to get active daily. A fitness watch can be a smart tool for monitoring movement and motivating kids to get moving.
Set an Example with Good Time Management
It’s no secret that kids are wired to be a little bit monkey-see monkey-do. If you want them to be well-rounded individuals, studious as well as creative and playful, you need to model that kind of behaviour.
Keep your schedule organised with a calendar and Post-it notes, and ensure work doesn’t spill over into your family life. And yep, that may mean putting the phone away for portions of the day. To help improve study/life balance, try scheduling family study sessions when everyone engages in quiet solo activity for an hour or so.
If everyone is studying and working together, noise-cancelling headphones might help prevent distractions!
What to Try
Give Kids Rewards for Completing Set Goals
Find strategies to prompt your little ones to a better study/life balance. A rewards chart can be a good motivator that helps them achieve tasks by certain deadlines and due dates, or use stickers to incentivise anything and everything, from completing a school reader to cleaning their room.
Once set goals have been achieved, the reward doesn’t have to be chocolate or a toy, it can be quality free time doing a favourite activity together, like painting your nails or doing a craft project.
Experts suggest parental praise is a huge motivator, but tailor your comments to focus on the process rather than the outcome. Highlight the hard work put in, as well as the perseverance and positive attitude you’ve witnessed.
What to Try
- Kadink Merit Stickers 120 Pack
- Staedtler FIMO Form and Play Dino Set
- Monkey and Chops Star Magnets 50 Pack
- Little Learner Reward Chart
- Hinkler Paint Your Own Neon Stones Kit
- Monkey and Chops Task Magnets 38 Pack
- Galt Nail Art Kit
- Kadink Merit Stickers 80 Pack
- Kadink Merit Stickers Cute Animals 140 Pack
Don’t Overload Their Schedule – Kids Need Free Time Too
There’s a lot of pressure on parents to make sure kids are getting everything they need. Are they having too much screen time or eating enough vegies? Do they need a maths tutor? Are dance lessons a good idea?
It’s tempting to fill their schedules with exciting activities, but taking on too much is a common mistake. Kids require frequent bursts of unstructured free time to assist in their development. Little people who engage in regular free play are likely to be more creative, confident and calm.
As a parent, you’re also their advocate. One of the best things you can do for them is ensure a healthy balance between study and life so they’re happy and not overstretched.
What to Try
- Monkey and Chops Weekly Activity Planner
- Play-Doh Cookie Creations Set
- Crayola Twistable Coloured Pencils 12 Pack
- Crayola Giant Colouring Pages Frozen
- Otto Tropical A4 Weekly Planner 30 Sheets
Plan Regular Family Time
Research shows that quality family time helps kids thrive. While forging connections and making memories together, there’s a ripple effect: kids wind up feeling happier, more secure, and less stressed.
Doing puzzles and craft or playing board games are constructive group activities that help nurture study/life balance, but you can also engage them in simple household tasks like cooking, gardening and folding laundry. Have a chat and share a laugh while teaching them important life skills and lessening the time and energy you spend on your own load.
What to Try
Focus on One Thing at a Time
Ignore the instinct to multitask. Bouncing between activities makes us less productive and can impair our cognitive abilities. Instead, encourage kids to focus on one thing for a solid amount of time before taking a break and moving on.
Some call it the 100% dedication theory; train their brains to fully engage with a task for an established amount of time. Researchers say the optimal routine is 52 minutes of focus followed by 17 minutes of ‘free’ time to reset and refresh. It boils down to working smarter, not harder, and the end result? More things will get done, and done well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Nobody can do it all and trying to can sometimes be a fast track to increased stress levels. If you think kids need more support with their school work, have a chat with their teacher. Arranging some study sessions with a tutor or joining a study group may help achieve a better study/life balance.
And for those days when they’re studying from home, setting up a timetable is always helpful to help maintain balance.