There’s nothing like finally coming home after a hectic work day. Dinner is almost prepared, you’re in your comfy pajamas, the bed is calling your name. You are ready to call it a day but suddenly you hear “I NEED HELP WITH HOMEWORK!!!!”.
From that moment it makes it difficult to recover your inner peace and desire of being at home. But not all is lost!
Before you start telling them “ask your teacher about it tomorrow”, here are five tips to make homework time simpler and smoother:
Consider Having a Schedule
Having a schedule makes transitions easier. The smoother transitions are, the less the meltdowns and tantrums.
Children learn to respect routine with time, in fact they do it at school every day. If they have a specific period of the day when they know they have to sit and work on their home learning, they will most likely try to have it done during that time frame.
Learning to manage time is usually difficult for every working parent. Many factors can come at play in the making of a schedule, such as working until late or having the kids in aftercare or extracurricular activities.
Nonetheless, if you follow a schedule at least a couple times a week, you should start getting good results. If you want to keep up the pace, you could also make a schedule from the time the kids arrive home until bedtime.
Have a Snack Break
If the little ones are hungry, they will surely lack focus. You should make sure they haven’t gone without a meal for more than five hours when doing their homework. A healthy snack and a fifteen-minute break before homework time should do the trick.
Classroom research has shown that a healthy snack can increase energy and concentration levels just after a short time. More on that here.
Keep in mind that their brains have been busy all morning. If you continue to push them to work while they are hungry you probably will not hear the end of it.
Make it Appealing
Yes! It’s possible
One way to engage kids into doing homework is to let them choose what they want to do first. For example, if they like math the most, let them start with the math assignment.
If they begin with something that is easy and enjoyable for them, they will keep the momentum going for the most challenging assignments. If they start with something that is difficult for them, they will get frustrated and the engagement will disappear very quickly.
Also, try to find a place around the house where they feel motivated. Make sure this place has good lighting and is a comfortable space for them to sit and have their supplies around. You can always go the extra mile by creating a cool and personalized homework spot.
P.S: avoid couches or beds at any cost while doing homework. You don’t want them to become tired or lazy.
Be a Teamplayer
No matter how smart and independent they are, children do better academically when they feel supported. Reports show that the more involved the parents are in their child’s learning, the greater the positive impact on academic achievement.
That doesn’t mean that you have to sit next to your child the whole time they are doing homework, checking in on them and letting them know that you’ll be there if they need you is enough. This technique can boost your child’s confidence and make them more productive.
They will understand eventually that homework is their responsibility, not yours, but you will be around to offer support when needed.
The easiest way to show this support is by helping them check their answers once they are finished. Finding their mistakes will teach them self-correction and patience.
Top it off with Nice Words
Children love to know when they are doing a good job and that is why it is important for us, the adults, to compliment them whenever possible.
Recognize the times they were sitting still, quiet or focused. Every once in a while, try to praise them with a “you’re doing it” or “I like how you are working quietly”. Simple phrases like these can greatly boost their self-esteem and their desire to continue doing good (blog post on correct ways to praise coming soon).
Also, give them something to look forward to after homework. It can be as simple as a bit of T.V time, outside play or a delicious dinner. Make sure you remind them they will get rewarded for their hard work after they are done.
I’ve gathered all these tips from what I have observed with my afternoon students. I’ve come to the conclusion that if these techniques are applied regularly, they will show good results.
I know everything seems like a lot of work, especially when you are tired but trust that your little one can do it. It all takes a routine, patience, communication and lots of love and support!