Homework can be very challenging, especially for high-energy kids who have a hard time sitting still at school, much less at home. As a parent, you may find yourself at a loss as to how you can help your kids cope with their homework challenges. Here are some tips that may help.
1. Schedule it in
Your kids need to know that you think homework is important. One way to do that is to have a designated “homework time.” This kind of routine can be very helpful for kids, and also establishes homework as an important task with its own allotted time.
Having a designated homework time also gives you more flexibility. That may seem ironic, but you and your child get to decide how many hours are needed, and what time of day those hours can come out of. Letting your child help you decide can also be motivational – that makes it less about the parent telling the child what to do and more about the child working with you to solve a problem.
Another tip about the scheduling – consider setting aside an “academic time” rather than just “homework time.” For example, if your child knows he or she has to spend an hour doing something learning-related, he or she will probably be less likely to hurry carelessly through a homework assignment just to get it done. Your child will understand that if he or she finishes his or her homework early, then he or she must find something else school- or learning-related to do.
2. Check it over
Make it a practice to look over your kids’ homework assignments. You don’t have to nit-pick, but just see that the homework is completed and that there are no glaringly obvious errors.
3. Get to know the teacher
Try to find out your child’s teacher’s expectations regarding homework, so that you can help your child reach those specific goals. It may be surprising how much teachers can differ in their homework expectations.
4. Quiet time
Homework/academic time should be free from noisy distractions if at all possible. Don’t settle down with homework assignments near the telephone, television, or computer, for instance (unless the homework assignment requires research on the computer). Some music is okay, especially if it helps filter out more distractions, such as loud younger siblings or other family member’s television programs. Just make sure the music is not distracting in and of itself.
5. Quiet place
Choose a special place for homework. Your child may come to look forward to settling down in this cozy, customized area of the house. Again guarding against distractions, you can set up the area to have snacks, drinks (even a mini fridge), comfy chairs or cushions, a special desk or table, and so forth.