Homework is a part of family life. With the increase in online activity for children and an increase in teachers using the Internet to assign and receive homework assignments, it raises some new challenges for parents. How do you structure homework time while controlling the total amount of time a child spends online? Take a look at the following tips and strategies.
One Central Location
One of the easiest ways to control online time and create a homework structure is to identify one location for both. Keep computers out of your child’s room and place them in a central location in your home. For example, your family might invest in a laptop computer that is used at the kitchen table during homework time. This way parents can keep an eye on online activities and children can use the computer for online homework or research.
Keep Tabs on the Internet Connection
Another option if you have older children is to allow them to have electronic devices and computers in their bedroom, however you control their Internet connection. It’s fairly simple to turn on and off a device’s access to the household Internet connection. Allow the Internet to be on for a few hours in the evening – time enough for your child to do their homework and then have free time online – and then turn it off for the evening.
Internet as a Reward
Another option is to keep the Internet turned off until your child has completed their homework. Treat it as a reward. Once homework has been completed, your child can have access to television, video games, or the Internet.
Depending on the age of your children, it may be helpful to create homework time and online time. For example, when your child comes home from school, homework time can begin after they’ve had a snack. They can then work on their homework until dinner and after dinner you might allow your children an hour or so on the computer. This can become complicated as your children get older and may need the Internet for their homework. This is when you might consider transitioning to having a family computer in one central location.
Time Control Devices
There are also handy devices that you can buy that control the signal or electricity going to a device, like televisions, video games, and computers. Children have to swipe a “debit card” or insert a token to access the device for a predetermined amount of time. You can give your child a weekly set of tokens or time on their card and let them control when they use it.
Structuring homework and online time can be difficult because the two are often intertwined. Create structured homework time and work online time around your child’s needs.