The Homework Struggle is Real!
By Sirsa Qursha,
Child Development & Parenting Specialist
Homework is usually dreaded by both parents and children alike! But keep in mind you’re helping your child develop important life and study skills, which are both important to overall achievement and success. Here are tips to help ease homework woes.
Creating and sticking to a consistent routine for homework is important. Schedule it so that your child has enough time to complete the homework and rest afterwards in order to be alert for the following school day.
What to do before homework
There are many things parents can do to transition smoothly into homework time. Here are some of the most important issues you can address a few days or weeks in advance of school starting:
Managing expectations: A few weeks before school starts, talk to your child about what your routine will look like. A few days before school, create a schedule with your child. You can even make it into a fun arts and crafts activity where you include time slots for downtime, extracurricular activities and homework
Determining a study space: Try to locate a place in the house where your child can concentrate without being too distracted but is also accessible so you can help as needed. This is particularly true for older children – they will need your supervision during homework, too
Setting a schedule: Collaborate with your child on a good time to start her work. Make sure she is part of the process and also offer choices: “Do you think it’s better to start homework at 5:00 or 5:30?” This gives kids a sense of autonomy and they feel they are partners in the process. Also, make sure your child has some down time before starting homework right after school
Agreeing on rules: Agree on certain guidelines with your child and rules regarding phone use and screen time until homework is done
What to do during homework
Here are a few tips that you can use when your child is actually doing homework:
Setting the tone: During homework time, it’s important that you manage distractions such as TV and phone use. Also try to the best of your ability to keep a distraction-free environment so your child can concentrate. This might mean getting younger siblings involved in a quiet activity while older children are completing assignments
Have your child clear their study space: Make sure there’s plenty of room for your child to spread out his computer or tablet, folders and papers; the less clutter the better. The more organised your child’s study materials are, the less likely he is to get distracted
Sticking around: Be sure that you’re available to answer questions and keep your child on track. Offer moral support when academic tasks get challenging
The power of food! In order for your child to focus on studying, she needs to be physically prepared to start. Hunger impacts concentration levels
Letting your child choose what to start with: Encourage your child to start with easy and quick tasks first that you can praise him for. This will provide the needed “push” for him to keep going
Using charts and checklists: It’s a great way to track completed assignments and deadlines and manage time. It’s also an important life skill children need to acquire
Knowing your child: Some kids really can’t focus for more than 15 minutes on an assignment. Have your child break down longer tasks into smaller parts, take short breaks and then come back to it. Other kids succeed once they spend 30-40 min on homework, then play, then complete the task. Find out what works and stick to it
Teaching your child study tips: Whether it’s flashcards, note-taking tips or teaching her how to summarise after reading a paragraph, use what
you know from your own experience to support her learning!
Empathising and offering support: Homework isn’t fun, but it’s important. Your child needs you to help her manage stress. Validating how she is feeling will help her stay motivated and on track
Having something to look forward to: Have some fun activities prepared for when homework is done so your child has something to look forward to
Another important aspect of completing homework is your relationship with your child’s school. Make sure you are in touch with teachers regarding projects, deadlines and your child’s academic needs. Also encourage your child to seek out help on material he is struggling with. Don’t wait for report cards or grades to come out. If and when you see your child facing challenges, be proactive and discuss the issue with teachers first-hand.
Did you know?
Start training your young child early
on packing his own backpack. This is an important skill to learn early on that makes it easier for children to succeed in