For some children, schoolwork can be one of the biggest challenges they face on a daily basis. When they bring home their studies, they sometimes also bring their frustrations. Here are some tips to help you help your child to tame the “homework monster” and succeed in his or her studies.
Set a Routine
Your child’s day at school is full of schedules, from classes to lunch to recess. Developing a healthy homework routine should make for an easy after-school transition.
Try to get your child to do homework at the same time every day. Immediately after school is ideal because the topics are still fresh. For a night with a heavy workload, divide homework periods into chunks throughout the evening.
A helpful way to set your child’s routine is to set one for yourself. If your child is older and needs less attention during homework time, do some of your own ‘homework’ at the same time, such as paying bills or responding to emails. Doing so will show your child that you, too, set aside time to be productive.
Plan the Location
Create a clean and well-lit space for your child to do homework, whether it’s a desk or cleared-off counter or kitchen table.
Homework space should also be clear of distraction, so turn off the TV and other screens. For computer work, remind your child to stay off the Internet to maintain focus.
Keep noise to a minimum. When possible, have younger siblings remain in a different part of the home. If distractions at home cannot be avoided, it may be best for your child to complete assignments at school or in a local library.
Provide Guidance, Not Answers
It’s vitally important that your child does his or her own work. Children need to think for themselves and learn from their mistakes. Writing things out for them won’t help them in the long run. Instead, provide guidance and encouragement. You can review your child’s work to make sure that your child understands the task and is on the right track.
A child who completes work independently has a sense of accomplishment and learns more.
If your child needs extra help, consider hiring a tutor without breaking your wallet.
Keep Emotions in Check and Tasks Manageable
Practice patience and pay attention to your child’s emotions during homework time. If you detect your child becoming overwhelmed, gently step in and help break the task into smaller, more manageable pieces such as doing some math problems before dinner and the remainder after.
Even if your child did not do perfect work, praise your child for the effort so that he or she knows that hard work is noticed and appreciated.
Know What’s Expected
Keep teachers’ contact information on hand in case you have questions. Familiarize yourself with teachers’ homework policies. Find out if there is a class-specific homework website that you and your child can check to make sure you don’t miss any assignments. These sites can also help you stay in the know about upcoming assignments.
Empty younger children’s backpacks every day to check for teachers’ instructions, worksheets or other notes.
Tell the Teacher about Your Concerns
If your child struggles routinely at home with certain subjects or skills, let the teachers know so that they can form a plan for your child to achieve great success in class.
It is important to show your child that home and school are a team, and to explain that he or she, when struggling, has the option of talking with both the teachers and you.
Parents and teachers should be working toward the same goal. If you have concerns about the way in which a teacher conducts a class or assigns homework, speak with the teacher privately. When parents, teachers and administrators establish positive communication and work together, children can be more academically successful.