How to Help With Homework

Published September 1, 2017

Tips for Minimizing Stress and Maximizing Success

Do you dread schoolwork as much as your kids do? Sometimes it seems homework has become ridiculously complicated since we were kids…but no matter how we protest, it doesn’t stop our schoolagers from asking us for help. At some point, you’ve got to face it—whether you know how to do that algebra problem or not, homework is part of your life again! With that in mind, we’ve gathered a few tips to help streamline the process, and hopefully make it less stressful for you and your kids:

Establish a Routine

Whether this means doing homework right after school or after dinner, a routine will make things easier for everyone involved. Your child may want to get his homework out of the way as soon as he gets home, or he may need to expend a little energy and eat a meal before starting. No matter when you decide the best time is, the key is consistency—both in the “when” and the “where.” Whether your child sets up at the dining room table or a desk in his room, a certain time and place should be dedicated to study. The less deviation from the schedule, the more likely your child will be to follow the routine successfully.

Don’t Be So Helpful

Be less of a helper and more of a monitor. The purpose of homework is to gauge how much your child has learned in class. A teacher won’t be able to assess your child’s progress and comprehension if you interfere too heavily in the work. If your child is really struggling on a problem, help guide them toward understanding the concept, so they’ll be able to work out a solution on their own.

Discipline When Necessary

It’s tempting to be lenient with your kids when it comes to homework—especially if they’re having difficulties with it. But establishing rules and setting consequences for when those rules are broken is an effective way to help motivate children to do what they need to be doing. Setting up a “one strike” rule is perfectly valid in these situations. The first time they forget to bring home or turn in an assignment is a pass, but the next time, those pre-determined consequences (no TV or iPad for a week, for instance) go into effect. If you find that your child is still struggling after several “strikes,” then sit down with them to create a homework checklist to help them stay organized.

Stay Calm

Homework meltdowns are inevitable. There will be times when your child needs to step away from their assignment to regroup, and I guarantee there will be times when you need to do the same. If your blood pressure is beginning to rise and your child is on the verge of boiling over, take a short break—eat a snack, do some deep breathing exercises together…whatever will calm you both down and help your child get back into study mode. Then get right back to the assignment!

We hope these tips help get you and your kids in the homework groove. But keep in mind, some kids may need more help than others. If your child is really struggling with an assignment or topic, reach out to the teacher and see if he or she has any other methods that might help your child better grasp what’s going on. A good teacher will want your child to succeed just as much as you do—they’re your allies, so treat them as such!

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