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Problem Solved! Tactics for easing homework challenges

In this week’s Triple P blogspot, we discuss ways to make homework time easier on the whole family.

As school settles in for the fall season, many kindergarteners and elementary school children are heading home with homework packets in their backpacks. For some parents (and students), this is their first go-around with homework. For some children, it is an exciting chance to show their parents what they are working on at school. For others, it signals the start of endless protests from reluctant children who would rather do anything but finish their homework.

The amount of homework, as well as type of work they do, and even the day it gets sent home is going to vary from school to school. But developing good study habits and a reliable homework routine for your child to follow are important steps in setting them up for academic success.

Success Starts at Home

It’s true that some children race through their homework packet, eager to get it done so they can play and relax after school. Others, depending on their after-school activities, may have to squeeze in homework after a long day of school, dance lessons, dinner. . . Before you know it, it’s bedtime!

If possible, consider what you want your homework routine to look like before that first homework packet comes home:

  • Relax first: Kids work hard for 6 hours during the school day—they may need a mental break when they get home. When your child gets home from school, offer a snack, or, if they are not hungry, read a couple books together. Many children have been sitting all day, and need to move their body to relax. Going for a walk, riding bikes, or tossing a ball around the yard for awhile after school can make a big difference in getting them to focus on homework later.
  • Create a workspace: Does your child have a dedicated workspace where they can comfortably sit and work? Is it free from distractions? Consider having a table or area that your child can reliably use to do their homework with easy access to their pencils, markers, and scissors. Your child can help decorate the space to make it their own. A special pencil cup, ruler, stapler, or picture of a special pet or grandparent can help them feel like sitting down to do homework is more fun.
  • Decide on a time to do homework: Between school and bedtime, there are not a lot of hours in the day to work with. Young children enjoy routine and do well when they can anticipate what’s coming next. Choosing a time that you can dedicate to helping your child work on their homework can contribute to creating good study habits. A good rule of thumb is to start on homework after your child has had time to relax, but before they can use any electronics (computer, TV, video games, etc.). Try giving it a name, such as the “homework hour,” or “homework club.”

For more tips on being a “homework helper” and to read the full article, visit lanekids.org

This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis, and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). 

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