Let’s play a game of word association.
If I say “homework,” what comes to your mind?
Is it the highlight of your evening and family bonding time or tears and hassles? I know the answer to this question!
The amount of stress homework produces, on a daily basis, can be destructive to families and frequently leads to crying, yelling, or even full-blown meltdowns. If your evenings look like this, you’re not alone.
Consider using these five practical tips to change the environment and attitudes around homework time.
- Display your child’s homework assignments in a visual manner.
Using a whiteboard, arrange it by today, this week, and future projects. Break down assignments and follow the board. This is helpful because the board becomes the checklist, not the parent.
- Share the load and make it enjoyable.
Consider making learning social by meeting another parent and classmate at a restaurant or coffee shop to complete homework. This provides a new setting and a novel environment of support where children can help each other and both parents can step in as needed.
- Crank up the fun!
What child doesn’t like to have fun? Don’t be afraid to take the pressure off and act silly during homework time. Use different voices, form letters with your body, or get outdoors and practice spelling out words with sidewalk chalk.
- Practice empathy
Ask questions to get more insight into what your child is going through. Healthy questions include, “What assignment would you like to tackle first?” “What part can you do?” “Where exactly are you stuck?” or “Can you find an example in your book?” Try these rather than saying, “Try it on your own,” or “I’m sure the teacher showed you how to do this.” And most importantly, know when to quit before the meltdown occurs.
- Give breaks as needed.
If your child is struggling or procrastinating, it’s OK to take a break and come back to the assignment. Every 15 minutes or so, pause for a brain break by doing some fun exercises or stretches. Avoid allowing your child to use electronics during homework breaks.
Partnering with Parents to End the Homework Battle
At Tampa Day School, we help you take the hassle out of homework. A 45-minute homework lab is actually built into our daily schedule. Beforehand, we provide a healthy snack for energy. If a student needs assistance, there is a teacher in each room to help. Students can work with a partner or work individually. The lab not only takes the full burden off parents’ shoulders and alleviates stress at home, it teaches children time management skills; when their work gets done, they have free time.
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