Is homework time a nightmare for you and your child? Do you dread after school because of the nightly battle to complete work due the next day? Here are some tips to make this year the easiest yet!
Have a Regular Routine
Your child’s day is run by routines and after school should be no different. Routines help children to predict what is coming next and to prepare themselves for those things that that may not be their favorites. A routine to try: Come home, have a snack, homework, dinner, time to relax, bedtime. Setting a time for homework (5:00 or so) makes sure that the activities before homework end at a specific time, allowing plenty of time to complete the evening’s assignments. Have in mind how much time should be spent on homework (it varies by grade level) and have your child stop if he has exceeded the amount of time given by the teacher.
Make Homework a Priority
Most teachers would agree that homework is important for students to reinforce the lessons taught at school during the day. In some cases, it is also a time to complete work that was not finished in class. Not completing homework can lead to a child falling behind in school. Often parents allow their students to put extracurricular activities ahead of school assignments. This makes for students who do not value the work expected of them, as well as puts them behind the next day. In the event that your child has practice or a rehearsal after school, schedule homework time with them the afternoon before so that they also see the importance of their work.
Create a Great Study Place
Where does your child do her work? The setting can make all the difference! Find a place that is free of possible distractions, as well as provide all materials that may be necessary. Having paper, pencils and a computer available will make for fewer excuses that your child doesn’t have what is needed.
Homework should be your child’s work (unless otherwise specified,) but visibility from someone willing to help is a great support. Offering words of encouragement, clarifying tasks and occasionally helping when your child gets stuck will allow him to feel that he is not on his own during this (sometimes) challenging time of day.
Develop a Reward System
If your child is resistant at homework time, setting-up a reward system will be an added incentive to make things run more smoothly. Talk with your child about a reward that she would like to earn. Then give one sticker (on a calendar) for each day that homework is completed without arguments. After a specified number of stickers have been earned, then your child will have earned the reward. You can continue this plan, increasing the number of stickers necessary, and changing the reward.
Get to Know Classroom Resources
Schools work tirelessly to make resources available to families. Often textbooks and assignments are provided online for parent reference. Ask your child’s teacher about such resources so that you may have the materials you need to help your child through evening homework.
Communicate with the Teacher
Your child’s teacher can help you to find ways to support your child and can offer more specific homework parameters for your child’s level. Teachers want to see homework completed, but they also realize the importance of time for your child to play and have time with friends. Contacting your child’s teacher can be a great way to determine approaches that are customized to meet your child’s needs.