How to Help Your Child with Homework: It’s All About Support

How to Help Your Child With Homework: It's All About Support

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Help Your Children Be Successful

Homework has a bad reputation. From a young age, your kids were probably been told — by TV shows, movies, older siblings/friends — that homework sucks.

As a result, even though students in grade school aren’t given very much homework, they will probably approach the prospect of having any homework at all with some negativity. This, mixed with a lack of self-discipline that just comes along with being a kid, means your kids probably aren’t going to go off to their rooms after school to get their homework done on their own volition.

When you are a kid there are a thousand and one things you’d much rather be doing. This can lead to stress for parents, as homework becomes the main subject of a well-worn argument.

It can also lead to pressure for parents; knowing that their kids needs to start forming good habits early on in their education, and knowing that the additional work is necessary for their understanding of the concepts.

If you are dreading the back to school homework even more than your kid is, it is time to think of some strategies to put into place!

Be Prepared in Advance

Think carefully about where you want your kids to do their homework. Do they have their own choice of location in your home?

Even if it is not ideal in your eyes, your child will probably relax more if they are able to choose where they are going to work. Some prefer to be alone in their room for a feeling of independence, while others feel they are getting more support the closer they are to their parents when they do their work.

You should also consider who the best person is to assist your child with a particular subject if they need to ask an occasional question. For instance, you may excel at math while your partner or an older sibling could be a whiz at science.

It may sound like an obvious point, but make sure they are also prepared with their equipment for the new term. Top up their supply of pens, pencils, a ruler, calculator, glue-stick, etc.

The less time they spend worrying about having the right tools at their disposal to complete their work, the more effort they can put into doing their work correctly.

You can also talk to your children’s teachers to establish what is going to be expected of them this school year. If there has been a particular subject your kid has struggled with previously, make sure their teacher is aware of the issue and discuss a strategy that will help both in the classroom and at home.

Some schools, particularly for older kids, have a homework diary system that parents sign on a weekly basis as a good way of keeping track for both teachers and parents. If your school doesn’t have this system in place, there’s nothing to stop you from completing one with your child for home use, as it is good a way of being organized.

A younger child could always be rewarded with a sticker on each page following a successfully completed assignment, for example.

Depending on the age of your kids and the amount of homework they get, decide what time slot works best for them. It is wise for kids to have a 30 minute break when they come home from school with a snack and drink to energize them before they start their homework.

Try to reserve anything with a screen as a reward for completing their work rather than letting your kid watch TV/play computer games before they do their homework, or it will be more difficult for them to be motivated to get back into ‘school mode’.

Remember the Importance of Homework

Although as a parent you can might find the whole process frustrating, it is worth reminding yourself that homework is important for kids.

Not only does it aid their learning in the classroom, it also helps them develop skills in using reference materials such as dictionaries and the internet. It also helps them to cultivate self-discipline, something that will become essential to their success in secondary and post-secondary education.

It’s important they figure out now the importance of handing in assignments on time and getting started on things in a timely manner.

Resist Helping Too Much

There can be a great temptation to actually complete your child’s homework on their behalf, particularly if they are tired or genuinely struggling with the answers themselves.

Though you might feel like you are helping them, in the long term this will actually be detrimental to the child’s learning because they will not be employing important problem solving and creative thinking skills themselves which could be vital in the future.

They need to learn for themselves the necessity of hard work as well as the feeling of euphoria you get when you finally figure something out.

It is hard to strike a balance, but show your child your support by letting them know you are there for them if they need you, but you can’t just tell them all the answers or complete a project on their behalf.

Remember children respond well to praise, so try to be patient with them and not critical if they don’t understand something that may be really easy to you. Building their self-esteem should ultimately give them a glow and lead to them trying even harder in and out of school.

Resources

Parenting (How to Help Your Kids with Homework)

KidsHealth (Helping Your Gradeschooler with Homework)

Topmarks (Helping with Homework: Why is Homework Important?)

Topmarks (Helping with Homework: Practical Ways to Help)

Empowering Parents (“My Child Refuses to Do Homework.” Here’s How to Stop the Struggle)