9 Easy Homework Help Tips Every Parent Should Know
How can you as a parent establish healthy homework habits in your child, starting from a young age? We’ve compiled some tips and tricks for parents to keep in mind when helping their children with their regular assignments.
- Designate a quiet study space for your child
Setting aside a dedicated space for children to concentrate and work in can really help them focus on their homework assignments. This space should have all the supplies they need (pens, calculators, highlighters, etc.), have good lighting, and be comfortable for doing schoolwork. Ideally, it should be an area with few distractions, so it should be away from areas where lots of people are coming and going.
- Set a schedule, and help with time management
Help your child establish a “homework time” so that he or she has a regular routine of doing homework, like right after school. It would also be ideal to regularly talk to your child about homework assignments and help determine how much time he or she thinks each will take. If your child has larger assignments or projects, help him or her break them down into smaller pieces and develop a schedule for completing each piece.
- Limit tech and media exposure
Model for your child turning off the phone, social media, and the TV in order to maximize focus and productivity. It would be distracting for your child to indulge in those things when he or she can’t, so keep in mind what you are doing while he or she is doing homework! Notifications and alerts can break concentration and focus, so it’s best to teach your child how to minimize distractions by just turning those things off.
- Do your “homework” at the same time
While your child is working on homework, try to work on some of your own “homework” assignments, like balancing the checkbook, paying bills, finishing a take-home project from work, or simply reading quietly. Modeling concentration-based tasks like this will help your child focus during homework time. This strategy is even more effective if you can tie your own “homework” to your child’s assignment, helping him or her see the real-world value of what he or she is learning.
- Be an adviser and a consultant
Although some assignments do specifically call on students to enlist their parents, the point of homework in general is to provide practice for the student. So, when your child comes to you with questions about an assignment, offer strategies to help guide him or her in the right direction, and model your thought process aloud for him or her. This is to help your child feel confident following the same steps independently. Hold back on giving too much guidance, though, especially in situations where you know the answer but don’t understand the teacher’s directions yourself. For example, you may be given a math problem that you know how to solve, but you don’t understand the teacher’s methodology. In this case, it may be more helpful to coach your child to remember what the teacher said rather than showing your way of solving it. That may end up confusing your child even more!
- Make a “Phone-a-Friend” list
Many children will experience confusion on the details of an assignment or mix up due dates at some point. When this happens, calling on a friend from class can be a lifesaver. If your child doesn’t have friends to reach out to, help make a list of three or four classmates that he or she can call if ever a little clarification or reminder is needed.
- Talk with your child’s teacher
Every teacher has his or her own philosophy and system regarding homework. Many educators have specific procedures about how homework should be completed and turned in, as well as their own incentive systems in place for students. Connect with your child’s teachers, and ask them what their expectations are for homework and how they feel that you can best support your child. Being on the same page can help you see where your child may struggle and guide you in determining how to motivate and encourage him or her.
- Hear your child out
Everybody has tough days—things don’t go as planned, schedules fall behind, and events don’t go our way. During those days, allow your child to vent and talk things out. Acknowledge these frustrations, and empathize with your child to help him or her understand his or her feelings. This will help your child feel validated, blow off some steam, and follow your suggestions more readily. Once your child has had a chance to vent, encourage him or her to get started on the task and focus on what needs to get done.
- Model a positive attitude
As a parent, you can model a positive attitude toward homework which can rub off on your child. Express your own interest in the subject of your child’s assignments, and be sure to talk about the role that homework plays in doing well in school and learning new things. Encourage your child to persevere through difficulty by not giving up on assignments that seem difficult. Remind him or her that growth doesn’t happen without some struggle!
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