For many families of school-age children, homework time can be a struggle. After a full day of school and activities, parents are often dealing with tired kids. And then there are the frustrations of kids forgetting to bring home their books or materials, being unclear on what they need to do or tackling subjects they struggle with. This can make for a rough evening or afternoon. But homework is important. It teaches responsibility and good work habits. One of the best ways to help your child be successful with homework is to establish a great homework routine. Create yours with these tips!
Establish a Great Homework Routine
1. Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher
When you set out to establish a homework routine, communicating with your child’s teacher is a good place to start. This is especially true with younger school-age children. As your child gets older you will want them to take on the responsibility for tracking their homework assignments and figure out what is needed.
With your younger school-age children, talk with their teacher to clarify how much time is expected to be spent on homework. And find out when and how assignments are communicated to your child and sent home. With this information, you can help your child learn to track their own assignments and know what the expectations are for your child’s homework time.
Establishing an open line of communication with your child’s teacher is also a big help if your child has ongoing struggles with homework or with understanding assignments. The teacher may be able to clarify or adjust assignments to help your child find success with their homework.
2. Create a Homework Schedule
Because homework is something that will likely need to be tackled daily, schedule a regular time for your child to get their work done. For some kids, this will mean sitting down and starting homework within a few minutes of getting home from school. Other kids may need some time to snack and unwind before opening their backpack after a full school day.
If your child doesn’t do well with an inflexible schedule, you can take a less rigid approach by establishing expectations without setting a specific time. For example, no TV or video games until homework is done. But outside of that rule allow them to choose the time. As long as they eventually get to work, this approach allows them to take some responsibility for themselves.
3. Choose a Place for Homework
To help your child get in the right mindset for homework, it’s helpful to designate a specific place for schoolwork. The location should be quiet, well-lit and free of distractions. Turn the TV off and silence cell phones or remove them from the homework area. Homework time will be more productive with fewer interruptions.
4. Provide Guidance Not Answers
It’s natural as a parent to want to help your child succeed. With homework, this means helping your child get focused, organized, and ready to work. It does not mean completing their assignments for them or even providing the answers.
If your child is struggling with an assignment you can be a great resource. You can help them clarify directions and guide them towards resources for researching answers. But you don’t want to get in the habit of doing the work for them. The lessons they learn from mom and dad’s overinvolvement in their homework are all the wrong ones.
If a particular assignment or school subject is a source of ongoing struggle, consider encouraging your child to check in with their teacher and offer assistance with this conversation as much as is appropriate for your child’s age and abilities.
5. Remain Consistent
A great homework routine needs to be just that, a routine. If you make it part of your child’s everyday schedule you’ll avoid a daily argument. And having a set time each day will keep your child consistent in their work and teach them to be organized.
If your child has after-school activities that make a consistent homework time challenging, establish a consistent weekly routine. This will provide the same stability and benefits by making homework a daily habit.