Homework is a necessary part of school, though not always the best part of your kid's day. Thankfully, homework doesn’t have to be a battle every afternoon. When parents create routines and set their kids up for success, homework time can become painless, and dare I say, fun.
Kids aren’t going to be able to complete homework at all—successfully or not—without a dedicated, quiet space to do so. Younger kids will have success with a cleared-off kitchen table. An even better choice is their own, kid-sized table they can use for homework daily without getting mixed up in dinner preparation madness. As they get older, they'll need a desk in a more secluded space, like their bedroom.
Set aside a tote with basic supplies like rulers and pencils and put it out daily after school. When kids have everything, they need to complete their work within arm’s reach, they’re less likely to get up to look for something and get distracted by toys.
Create a Routine
We all know kids are creatures of habit, and homework time is no exception. Create an after-school routine that works for your family and stick to it. We recommend a little time to run around immediately after school, followed by a snack. Enforce that the time between snack and dinner is reserved for homework or quiet reading. After dinner is over, give kids free time to spend as they choose, so long as homework has been completed. Plans like this help instill time management skills from an early age, too!
Don’t do it for Them
No parent wants to see their child struggle academically, but one of the worst things you can do is complete their work for them for the sake of earning a higher grade. When parents spoon feed answers to their children, these little students miss out on valuable learning opportunities that could have huge consequences down the road. Homework is designed to reinforce what was covered in the classroom, meaning if they’re having a hard time completing the work at home, they likely had a hard time at school too. If this becomes a regular reoccurrence, talk to their teacher to see if there are opportunities for extra help you can take advantage of.
Understand their Strengths
Got a kid that rocks at reading? Great! What about one that shines with science? Amazing! By understanding your kid’s strengths, you can help them tackle subjects that might otherwise feel a little foreign to them. For example, if your child understands science better than reading, you can help them pick books that are about science topics they’re interested in, or explain how the elements of a story are similar to a . Once they realize science and reading are intertwined, they’ll be more excited about reading than they were before.
Support what they Learned in the Classroom
Take a couple minutes to scan over any classwork they bring home before helping them with homework. If your teacher has your child learning to write with a specific type of pencil at school, buy a pack for them to use at home. If your kids’ teacher is presenting material in a certain way, stick to that method at home too. This is particularly true for math topics. You may think you’re helping them to understand a new topic, but learning too many methods all at once is very confusing, and can ultimately hinder their progress.
Homework doesn’t have to be a struggle, and these tips can certainly help your afternoons run more smoothly. Which methods work best for you and your family? Tell us in the comment section below!