Creating a homework-friendly home is a great way to sidestep some of the big obstacles parents and children face with homework. Try these 7 tips to get started:
- Feed your child's tummy and brain. I am dutiful about making sure my son is sent off to school with a good breakfast because I know how important a full belly is for learning. After school, a full belly is important too, and not one filled only with sugary pantry items. A hungry child, or one crashing from too much sugar, is not a child eager to do his or her homework without a struggle.
- Allow lots of fresh air and play time first, but no screens. After a long day at school, many children need time to unwind. I have found that by allowing a lot of play time but absolutely zero screen time, my son will play more and get to his homework without struggle because he's had a much-needed break from learning. Often my son will go straight for his homework to get it out of the way, but on days when he doesn't, the only rule that is not negotiable is zero screens before homework.
- Have a designated place for all school things. No need for it to be fancy, the same spot by the door is perfect. Your child needs to be able to find the homework that needs to be done easily when it's time to get to work.
- Have a designated place for doing homework. Create a spot that your child uses every day. Have everything he might need within arm's reach so that when he's ready to sit down and do homework he doesn't start wandering about and getting distracted by everything else that is not homework-related.
- Clear your schedule if possible. Be available when she is doing her homework. You may need to be right there next to your child helping -- or nearby in case an issue pops up -- but try your best not to be unavailable to help if she needs it.
- Stay calm so your child will too. If your child has hit a roadblock, attack the issue together as a team. If you are frustrated, that will make the situation worse. Homework is something many children have every day, and keeping the experience as pleasant as possible will help make this daily activity smooth sailing.
- Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Cranky kids are often tired or hungry. If you have given your child a good healthy snack and he is still cranky, the next step is to take a good look at his sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Your child may need even more.
Do you have any tips? Tell us on our Scholastic Parents Facebook page!