Keeping children engaged and productive during homework time can feel like an uphill struggle. It’s easy to find yourself in a daily homework fight, whether your children get anxious over tackling math equations, have a strop over reading Dickens or find it difficult to dedicate time to homework. Here are nine tips that can help homework time get back on track:
Get to the Bottom of Things
Try to understand what’s preventing your child from getting the work done. In many cases, it’s classic laziness or avoidance. However, sometimes he or she is overwhelmed by the amount or simply doesn’t understand the work. Once you know the problem, you can implement the appropriate solution.
Keep to a Routine
Set and stick to a daily homework system, so your child knows what they’re expected to do. Do they get a half hour break to relax before hitting the books? Or is there no TV until their homework is finished? Talk to your child and figure out a plan that works for everyone. Because sports clubs, your work schedule and other activities can interfere develop a plan for typical days and one that includes extracurricular activities. And make sure your partner and nanny or babysitter are all on the same page, so you all enforce the rules.
Stay in the Loop
You want to trust your kids when they say they did their homework or got an A on an assignment. But if you’ve caught them in school-related white lies in the past, you may need to be more hands-on. It’s important to develop a good relationship with your child’s teacher and make sure you have access to homework assignments.
Set an Example
Don’t watch TV, check Facebook or talk on the telephone whilst your child does homework. If they’re reading, pick up a book too. If they’re doing math, pay bills. Help your child see that the skills they’re practicing are related to things you do as an adult.
Draw the Line
Set boundaries so both you and your child understand the difference between homework help and simply doing the homework for them. When the teacher asks you to play a role in homework, do so. But, if homework is meant to be done alone, respect that.
Create the Right Environment
Providing the right environment can go a long way to showing you take homework seriously. Make sure your child has a designated quiet and well-lit homework space, along with the necessary materials such as a pencil, paper and dictionary.
Be Time Efficient
If you have more than one child, you may find yourself pulled in different directions for homework help. Stagger your assistance by having one child work on their easier assignments, while you assist the other with more difficult subjects. Then switch. This way, each child has your attention when it’s needed most. Or if your spouse is home, you can tag-team. Maybe you each take charge of a child or a school subject.
Find a Homework Mentor
Does your child have a mentor? Someone a little older who lives in the neighborhood or is the child of one of your friends? Consider asking this person to be a “homework helper” one or two days a week (yes, you might have to pay them). They can meet at the library or at your house and do their homework together. The idea is that your child sees this older, “cooler” child focusing on schoolwork and learns organization skills from a peer, rather than a parent.
Hire a Tutor
Children may be more willing to work with or open up to someone who isn’t their parent. And tutors can use different teaching techniques to help your child. If you need to hire a babysitter or after-school sitter, find someone who can also double as a homework helper. In your job post, mention what subjects your child needs a hand with and then look for someone who excels in those areas.