End Homework Hassles

Whether we have little ones who are just entering the world of homework, or our kids are hardened veterans of this favorite after-school activity, we all as parents struggle to navigate our kids attention towards this task.  Parents.com has some great tips to develop a strategy to create homework routines that will work for your kids and keep them engaged…


End Homework Hassles

If getting your child to do her schoolwork is a daily struggle, we’ve got easy solutions.
By Renee Bacher from Parents Magazine

Studying Strategies

After seven hours in the classroom, who wants to sit down and do homework? Certainly not most 6- to 8-year-olds. They would rather play with their friends, participate in an after-school activity, or simply unwind in front of the TV. Because let’s face it: Homework may help your child learn, but it’s still a major chore.

“Kids this age are getting used to the idea of having to do assignments on their own,” says Cathryn Tobin, MD, author of The Parent’s Problem Solver: Smart Solutions for Everyday Discipline and Behavior Problems. “And many of them are more concerned with socializing than with schoolwork.”

So don’t be too surprised if your child complains about her workload: According to a survey by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization, almost half of parents said they have serious arguments with their children about homework. But it doesn’t need to be a source of stress. These strategies will make studying a lot easier on you both.

  • Start with a snack and exercise. You can’t expect your child to focus when he has an empty stomach. Robin Lanahan, of Portland, Oregon, keeps turkey jerky, protein bars, bottled water, and trail mix in the car for her son, Owen, 7. “He’s always starving when I pick him up from school, so the first thing I do is give him something to eat,” she says. Lanahan then lets Owen run around the playground for a while. “By the time we walk in the door, he’s ready to do his homework.”
  • Establish a routine. Ask your child to suggest a regular time when she’d like to do her schoolwork (such as when you’re making dinner). Have a backup plan in place for days when she has a pianolesson or soccer practice. If your child has a playdate, suggest that the kids take a break to do their homework together. And your child may want to do his reading assignment on the ride home from school, since this makes good use of “dead time.”
  • Help him get organized. Set up a well-lit work area that includes a desk, sharpened pencils and erasers, a children’s dictionary, and color-coded folders for different subjects. And let your child do homework at the kitchen table if he wants to. Just make sure he works independently rather than taking advantage of this location to ask you endless questions.
  • Put her in charge. The most important purpose of homework is to teach your child responsibility for completing an assignment. If she forgets to bring home her spelling words, have her call a friend to get them. While it’s fine to offer gentle reminders (“Remember that you have math and reading assignments on Wednesdays”), don’t nag your child to get her work done. Let her deal with the consequences if she doesn’t.
  • Free up his schedule. If your child has too many extracurricular activities, he’ll have trouble finding time for homework. He’ll also miss out on downtime, which is important for sparking creative thinking. To keep Owen from feeling overscheduled, Lanahan limits him to just one extracurricular activity that takes place no more than twice a week. “On the other days, he comes home, does his homework, then plays outside with his friends,” she says.

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