Homework: it’s a dreaded word. You can recall the late nights at the kitchen table, tears of frustration, and moments of self-doubt from your own childhood. Now, you’re experiencing it all over again – what fun! Homework can be a daunting task, and it is beyond challenging to fit into busy evening schedules. It’s time for you to take the power back. You’ve got this, Coach!
Tips for Stress-Free Homework:
You are the coach. Simply provide encouragement, model organizational strategies, and monitor progress. Do not expect perfection
Set-up a “Homework Zone” within your home. This space should be well-lit, quiet, and stocked with necessary supplies.
Pre-schedule a designated homework time as part of your routine. Once you decide on a time that works for your family, try to stick with it. Some research shows that the optimal time to do homework is before dinnertime. Come home, decompress, grab a snack, and get it over with!
Give Choices: This is especially relevant with younger children. As with any non-preferred task, the more a child feels in control of the situation, the more successful he/she will be. “Would you like to start with this Math worksheet, or your spelling words?”
Ensure your child takes necessary “brain breaks” during homework sessions, and set a timer. The frequency of these breaks depends on both age and individual need – usually about 3-5 minutes of work time per year of a child’s age. For example, if your child is 8 years old, this is about a half hour. Let your child set the timer. This promotes a feeling of independence and ownership over his/her learning.
Attend family-teacher conferences and read home-school communication to ensure your child understands teacher expectations.
Use positive reinforcement for task completion – whether this is verbal praise, a token system, or a little treat!
WRITTEN BY KIMBERLY DESAUTELS, EDUCATIONAL STRATEGIST/TUTOR WITH WILDFLOWERS