The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Tips to Help Kids Hunker Down on Homework

August 7, 2014

Brother Helping Sister With HomeworkBack to school means back to homework. It’s good for parents to have an action plan to keep their kids focused on after-school assignments. Even the most diligent student sometimes needs a little help.

Here are some homework tips for keeping your youngsters on task:

Turn off the electronic distractions: It’s essential to have rules of the house concerning electronics. Smart phones and other devices can become a world of distraction for kids. How can a student focus on homework when text messages keep buzzing in non-stop? To help your kids focus on their homework, we suggest that you ban texting and phone conversations until the homework is done. You might also turn off the television and keep a watchful eye on computers to make sure that your children use them for school assignments, not email marathons with friends.

Dedicate a workspace for homework: Adults who have a home office know that an organized, comfortable workspace is conducive to getting paperwork and other tasks done. Why should it be different for kids? Parents can help their kids by giving them a dedicated space for doing homework. Make sure that lighting is adequate and that work surfaces are neat and organized. Keep the homework area well stocked with pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, and other supplies. Consider purchasing a desktop set to organize accessories such as scissors, staplers and paper clips.

Encourage sturdy seating and good posture: A sore back and wrists can stymie your youngster’s homework efforts. Leaning into the computer with slumped shoulders and eyes glued to the screen is no way to study. Poor posture at the computer can lead to pain syndromes and fatigue. Children can be especially prone to injury because of their developing and vulnerable musculoskeletal systems, according to the International Children’s Ergonomics Foundation. Encourage your young “Einstein” to adopt good posture, whether using a desktop or a laptop. Make sure that he or she has a sturdy chair that supports both the upper and lower back. Getting up and moving around at least once an hour also will reduce physical strain and boost productivity.

Allow your child to eat snacks while doing homework: It can be hard to stay focused on an empty stomach. Whether homework time is scheduled before or after dinner, make sure that your child is not distracted by hunger pangs. A snack can help a student persevere through assignments that require extended focus. Just make sure that the snack is a healthy one, such as fruit, yogurt, or whole-grain toast or crackers.

Consider giving small rewards: For younger children, consider giving a little reward for a job well done. The reward can be as simple as a sticker. Generations of students received sticky gold stars on their homework for their academic excellence. Perhaps you might wish to place a fun and colorful sticker on a perfect spelling sheet, or promise a trip to the park or local pool. For older homework champs, you might offer a curfew extension. Don’t forget to reward you child for preparation and organization skills, not just the completed assignment.

Communicate with teachers: Although you shouldn’t do your child’s homework, you should stay involved with the process, say parenting experts. Communicate with your child’s teachers so that you have an understanding of what they expect from homework assignments. Monitor your child’s assignments, and talk with your child about the goal of the homework. If you notice that your child consistently struggles with homework, take steps to address the situation. Your youngster may need extra help from a teacher, some after-school study sessions, or perhaps even a tutor.

Emphasize the importance of homework and give praise when due: Encouragement can be key to building your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Showing an interest in your youngster’s homework helps maintain motivation and interest, educators say. Unless you emphasize to your child that homework is important, your child may not place much emphasis on the task. Never underestimate the impact that your attitude as a parent has on your child. Children of all ages are apt to model parental attitudes and behavior, which are important influences for a child’s success. Another tip for parents: Look at homework as an opportunity, rather than a burden. Taking this attitude will go a long way toward helping your kids succeed in school.

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Categories: Parenting Tips
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