With the school year routine in full swing – which usually includes extra-curricular activities and sporting events – it can be challenge to motivate kids to complete their homework each night. Whether your child is in kindergarten or 12th grade, here are some ideas to make homework smooth sailing this school year!
Know what to expect. Exactly how much homework should your child expect? Most experts say that students should have about 10 minutes of homework per day per grade level. For example, third grade students can expect about 30 minutes of homework per night while high school seniors might expect as much as two hours each night. However, this can vary greatly depending on your child's school and the courses they are taking, especially in middle school and high school.
Establish a routine. If you haven't yet, work with your child to find a homework routine that works for both of you. Should they begin their homework right after school, or will they have a snack and a short break before starting their assignments? Establish perimeters such as what privileges they can have before, during, and after their homework completion. By having an open conversation and making your child aware of your expectations, it will be easier to maintain a consistent homework routine throughout the school year.
Find the right amount of involvement. Parents should be involved in the homework process, but not overinvolved. Start by providing a clean, consistent and calm space for your child to complete their homework. Sometimes, the kitchen or dining room table is not ideal, especially if there are distractions. A desk or table in a quiet area of your home might help your child focus more. Once they start, encourage them to work independently, but let them know you're there to answer questions and provide guidance if they need it.
Be patient. If your child gets frustrated with homework, it's important to be patient with them. After a long day at school, they may need a short break before they can continue. Even something simple like three deep breaths and a few sips of water can get a frustrated child back on track. Once they cool down, offer to provide guidance and assistance. If your child is still frustrated, work with his or her teacher to brainstorm strategies that will best support your child in the future.
Practice positivity. When we help children understand that homework is meant to reinforce the skills they are learning at school, they can begin to understand the rationale behind the assignments. This can make homework a more positive experience for the two of you.
It may also be helpful to model healthy homework habits by reading a book or completing work next to your child while they're doing homework. If needed, divide homework time into chunks to make it more manageable for children, and think of positive ways to make your breaks fun! Take five minutes to dance to their favorite song, or go for a brisk walk in between the work periods to help them engage more fully when you get back.
As we embrace the new school year and all the activities that come with it, it's important to establish a positive homework routine. When it comes to homework, structure and positivity can help your child expand on their classroom learning and put their best foot forward!