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How to Study Without Getting Distracted: Tips From The Experts

Study distractions are everywhere. Distracted studying can lead to poor understanding of the concepts students are learning. In time, this can result in lower grades and feelings of frustration.

“I Get Distracted Easily While Studying!”

This is commonly heard by parents as a reason for homework not being complete. To end this homework struggle and achieve effective learning, students need to be in an environment where they are able to focus on their studying.

Avoiding Distractions While Studying

Study distractions can either be internal or external. Internal study distractions include physiological needs and emotional thoughts. External study distractions include technology and people. Your child must be able to focus on his or her homework to complete and understand what he or she is learning. By making sure your child is avoiding distractions while studying, you are setting him or her up for success.

We’ve gathered the best study distraction tips from parenting and teaching experts across the country. Help your child avoid distractions while studying with these tips!

How to Study Without Distractions – 10 Tips From the Experts

  1. Keep distractions to a minimum

  2. Q: Sometimes homework and studying time can be right in the middle of other family member activities. What are some ways students can concentrate and avoid being distracted when doing homework or studying in a high-traffic area like the kitchen or family room?

    A: I would say a few things — make sure that room is at least concentrate-able. Play some classical music and keep any play to a minimum in that room (which can be harder when there are small brothers and sisters). Also, teach and encourage your kids to concentrate even when a lot is going on. That will serve them well in the future!

    — Hilary from Pulling Curls

  3. Deal with hunger first

  4. Q: Sometimes students just can’t concentrate because of physical needs such as hunger or fatigue. What are some of the ways that students can combat fatigue or hunger when it comes down to doing homework?

    A: Make sure you serve a healthy and filling after school snack. I have one child who likes to take bites of a graham cracker while she does her homework, so whatever works — make it work!

    — Hilary from Pulling Curls

    Hilary from Pulling Curls blog

    “Make sure you serve a healthy and fulfilling after school snack.”

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    — Hillary from

  5. Put the phone on do not disturb

  6. Q: Many students have their own cell phones and social media accounts. How can students resist the distraction of their phones when studying or doing homework?

    A: Students with cell phones need to recognize when the phone is helping and when it is distracting, and become more self aware of its impact on their productivity. The easiest way to avoid the distraction of a phone is to put it out of reach and place the phone on do not disturb. However, they may want to make frequent friend and family contacts who may need to get a hold of them aware that they are studying and away from their phone. This way they can prioritize studying while also ensuring that friends and family are not insulted when they are ignored during this time.

    Using the VIP feature in an iPhone will ensure that if someone really needs you they will ring through but that if it is not important they can wait.

    — Patti from Madly Learning

  7. Find a spot that works for them

  8. Q: What are some ways that students can resist the temptations of the outside world or extracurriculars when studying or doing homework?

    A: When studying or doing homework, students need to learn what works for them. For some students, they need noise and activity because they cannot focus in a silent environment. For others, they need silence away from any and all distractions. Getting students to reflect on their study style is important to ensure their success.

    For students that need noise, they should avoid the temptation of using music videos or YouTube. They should figure out what kind of music helps them the most and create a playlist so they know they can avoid the distractions of Spotify or YouTube.

    For those students that need silence, they need to move to an area where they can focus and set themselves up for success. Move the phone or tablet away from themselves and purchase a pair of noise cancelling headphones or download a white noise app for their device. Additionally, it is important for students to recognize that they may need different conditions for different types of homework situations. If a student needs to be on their computer to complete their homework, I highly recommend the chrome extension simple blocker, which blocks your access to social media sites for a specified amount of time.

    — Patti from Madly Learning

    Patti from Madly Learning

    “Getting students to reflect on their study style is important to ensure their success.”

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    — Patti from

  9. Take frequent breaks

  10. Q: Sometimes a computer is required to complete projects, homework, or studying. What are some ways that students can resist the distraction of other sites or programs on the computer when it comes down to getting studying done?

    A: I advise my kids to set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour. I encourage them to work efficiently for a manageable period of time. Then take a break – watch a video, check out Snapchat, or have a snack. You can get a lot accomplished in a short period of time if you truly focus. I also remind my children that working efficiently and without distractions means work is done more quickly and they have more time to themselves later to do the things they prefer to do. That being said, I’m not always successful in getting them to focus. There are far more distractions now than I experienced as a child. The lure of the online world is always there.

    — Joann from Woman in Real Life

  11. Work in a space that works for everyone

  12. Q: Family means well but sometimes they can be a major distraction to their children when they’re trying to study, whether it’s by being distracting or not appreciating homework time. In your experience, are there steps parents or family members can take in creating a distraction free zone?

    A: It really depends on the child and how they learn best. My son prefers to be close to Mom and Dad when he’s doing schoolwork, so he can ask us questions (and, yes, vent about having to do homework at all). He doesn’t often choose to use the desk in his bedroom. My daughter, on the other hand, prefers to work in her room, whether at her desk or on her bed. I think the key is providing each child with an environment they find most conducive to homework and studying.

    For example, some people like to work with music playing in the background, whereas others can’t concentrate with music going. When you’re sharing a home, everybody has to take those factors into consideration and be respectful of other family members.

    — Joann from Woman in Real Life

    Joann from Woman in Real Life (1)

    “The key is providing each child with an environment they find most conducive to homework and studying.”

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    — Joann from

  13. Create a routine to stay organized

  14. Q: Students often have trouble keeping all their notes and handouts organized. Do you have tips for kids of all ages when it comes to studying and completing homework?

    A: In my house, we keep to a strict routine. After school, everyone comes in after school we spread out their agendas and make a list of what tasks need to be completed for the week. Due dates are written on the family calendar and homework is prioritized based on due dates and importance. We complete homework prior to moving on to free time. With all three kids doing their homework together, they encourage and help each other complete their task.

    — Jennifer from One Heart One Family

  15. Make learning fun

  16. Q: Sometimes homework and studying can just be plain boring to children. What are some ways students can make studying fun or rewarding at the end so that it’s worthwhile?

    A: Find practical ways to incorporate their studies into real life (i.e., teach fractions with baking cookies, etc). My kids love electronics, so the way we encourage them is to find apps that help them complete their studies on a tablet. One example is spelling test preparation. We use an app that allows us to input his current spelling list. Then he plays the games (fill in the blanks, unscramble etc.) all week to get him used to the words. Then he does the practice exam to prep him for his test.

    We work on [learning] together. My kids and I love spending time together. I find they work better on their assignments when I am beside them. I get them to take an active role in explaining the assignment and how they got to their answer to me.

    — Jennifer from One Heart One Family

    Jennifer from One Heart One Family

    “Incorporate their studies into real life – like teaching fractions with baking cookies.”

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    — Jennifer from

  17. Use a calendar and plan ahead

  18. Q: Sometimes students leave studying, homework, or projects to the last minute and can become overwhelmed when they start to pile up. Do you have any tips or words of advice for children and/or parents in making their workload more manageable?

    A: We lead a very busy life with sports, clubs, etc. Leaving homework or projects to the last minute can spell disaster, so we try to avoid it from the outset. What we have found works for our family is to have a big family calendar with all of our obligations written on it, including due dates of projects. We use a different colour for each person in the family which makes it easy to read quickly. Then, as parents we sit down with our kids and look at the big project and break it into more manageable bite sized pieces. It allows us to figure in our other time constraints and put more time towards the schoolwork on a night or weekend where we are less busy, and less time on a night that has other obligations and could cause stress or a late night. The other big benefit of this has been the reduction in harried trips to the store for supplies we don’t have on hand. By planning it out ahead of time we are able to get the items we need before we actually need them.

    Another tip I would suggest and one that has worked well for our family is to have scheduled homework time every day. This means that the kids are already prepared that they are going to sit down and do some work but it also gets us ahead at times. For example, if my kids don’t have any homework, we’ll do a worksheet on math, spelling, or another subject that they are working on at school. The internet has so many resources available to print for free. What this does is reinforce what they’re learning in the classroom and reduce the amount of “cramming” time they need before a test. As a parent I’ve found it invaluable because it has highlighted for me areas that my kids are strong in but more importantly, areas where they are struggling a little. This has allowed us to find extra help through the teacher, ourselves or an outside learning centre.

    — Susannah Findlay from Creative Mama On A Dime

  19. Split the work up in sections

  20. Q: During long homework or studying sessions it’s hard for students to maintain focus and stay productive. In your experience, what are some ways that parents can keep their children motivated and focused when they start to lose interest in their schoolwork?

    A: Staying focused is really hard for kids, especially when they are studying for a test or have a big assignment. Just the thought of it often makes them the wiggliest kid you’ve ever seen. If we have managed to spread the assignment out over a couple of days, we try to chat about the topic casually in the car or at dinner to get them thinking about it when they’re not feeling stressed and pressured. This often allows them time to really analyze and reflect so that when it is time to sit down and do the work, they have already got their thoughts in order.

    We also have found that breaking up the work into smaller chunks throughout the evening is very helpful. We sit down after school and do a section then let the kids go off and play. This gives them a concrete “finish line” which for many kids is necessary. It also re-energizes them and allows them to burn off energy. We slot in another short work session before dinner and then dinner becomes another break, another chance for your child to stretch their legs, laugh, talk, etc. A third chunk after the dinner dishes are done usually does the trick and gets the kids in bed on time with their work done.

    A big tip for helping your kids get through the stress of a big assignment or studying is setting them up for success. This means providing them with a space that is clear of clutter, has the materials they need for their project, is away from a television, radio or tablet and even siblings who are playing. These are all distractions and can cause procrastination, frustration and tears (yours or theirs). While we are all busy and it can seem like we’re in a huge rush all the time, taking 5 minutes to sit with your child as they’re starting their work and making sure they’re on track can save hours later. Check in periodically. Ask questions to make sure they’re comprehending and try to be as positive, calm and level as you can because they will draw from your energy.

    — Susannah Findlay from Creative Mama On A Dime

    Susannah Findlay from Creative Mama On A Dime (1)

    “Breaking up work into smaller chunks creates a ‘finish line’, which for many kids is necessary.”

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    — Susannah from

    Help Your Child Succeed With These Distracted Studying Tips

    Developing the right study skills and finding the perfect study routine takes some trial and error, but in the end it’s worth it. Distracted-free studying will allow your child to achieve his or her academic goals more easily and with less stress.

    If your child needs help with studying or with improving his or her study skills, Oxford Learning can help. Our study skills program helps kids develop strong time management, organization, note taking, study strategies and more. Contact us today!

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