Tips for Helping Your Child With Homework

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School is back in session, which means your child is probably coming home with homework. While some children can handle doing homework on their own, others may require a little more help.

And, sometimes, it’s not that they need help with the actual work itself (although that can be the case), but they just need help with the process of doing homework. They may not know how to tackle homework time. 

As a parent, homework time can be a frustrating time, but if you want your children to get better at it, there are some things you can do to make it easier for everyone. 

  • Establish a routine for homework: For children, routines can have a very comforting effect. They provide a sense of security and help establish time management. And like other routines, for example, bedtime or chores, homework should have a routine. Perhaps it is always done upon returning from school or immediately following an after-school snack. It might involve emptying all the contents of a child’s backpack so he can get organized and see what tasks they need to complete. Whatever needs to happen for your child to settle into homework time, it needs to be part of the routine. 
  • Limit distractions: In today’s world, there are plenty of distractions. Phones, television, music – and while some children may work better with music or other minor distractions, they should be limited. If children are doing work on their laptops, ask that they refrain from watching videos. Turn off the television if they are working in an area where it is visible or can be heard. 
  • Teach your child good study habits: Is your child organized? Does she know how to take notes? Is he able to break down work into smaller, more manageable pieces? These are all part of establishing good study habits, and sometimes children just don’t know how to do these things. Take the time to teach your child study habits that will benefit him. If he’s disorganized, a planner might help. If she’s not sure how to break down a math problem into parts, teach this skill. A little help on the front end of things can really help further down the road. 
  • Get to know your child’s teachers: If you haven’t met your child’s teacher(s), take the time to get to know them. This will help you know what their expectations are when it comes to homework. 
  • Be available, but don’t hover: When it comes to homework time, you want to be available, but you don’t want to hover. This will allow your child to develop independence during this crucial time, but still ask you questions if needed. 
  • Allow for breaks: It seems that children have more and more homework these days. At times, it can be overwhelming for everyone. Allow for breaks – whether it be for a snack, to watch a quick video, or do a quick stretch. A break will allow your child to come back refreshed and ready to tackle their homework again.
  • Let them make mistakes: It’s a parent’s natural instinct to want to correct mistakes they see in their child’s work, but sometimes, learning from a mistake can have benefits, too. If it’s a mistake where a child does not understand a key concept, of course, step in and help them. But smaller mistakes, like those that come from rushing through work, let go. The teacher will correct them, and your child will learn what he/she did wrong. 
  • Seek extra help when needed: By all means, if homework time continues to be a struggle, seek extra help. Your child’s teacher, an older sibling, or tutor may be able to help your child in ways that you aren’t able to – so seek out someone else for assistance as needed.

Don’t let homework time become dreaded in your home; use these tips to help your child establish routines, habits, and strategies to make homework less stressful and more productive.

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