We are well into the school year and homework is a routine your young one(s) may wish would go away for good! When we were in elementary school, we probably felt the same way. We thought we had more important things to do! We had to watch our favorite television programs, talk to our friends on the phone or go outside and enjoy a little downtime playing with kids on the block. Well, not much has changed with children today—except for the fact there are far more distractions to keep them off task. Between social media, the lure of video games, and over 500 cable channels to choose from, the choice to revisit school work is downright painful!
First, here are some facts that help us understand homework a little better:
- Results from scientific studies show that the typical elementary student has 30-45 minutes of homework each night. The average high-school student has about 60 minutes per night. Interestingly, these numbers have remained that way since 1984!
- Homework is assigned to reinforce what was taught in class. It is NOT a punishment, but it is a strategy used by teachers to help students become stronger with the ideas and concepts taught.
- Homework helps teachers understand how well their instruction was understood. Is this a subject
they need to review again or did the students “get it”, which is critical for them to know so they plan upcoming lessons.
Okay…so we know homework has a purpose so now….HOW DO WE ALL SURVIVE IT?
Listed below are some tips we hope will help:
- Have a special spot for your child to go, in order to do homework.
Just like there is a place to eat dinner, a place to sleep and a place to play ball, there must be a designated or special place for your child to do his or her homework. This will trigger them whenever they are in this space to work, focus and complete the task.
- Set up the homework space and your child to focus.
This designated homework space should look and feel like a homework space. Have a flat surface, plenty of room, lots of light and a comfortable chair. These things will make the homework task much easier and without stress.
- Eliminate distractions!
Get rid of all items (cell phone, video games etc.), noises (sounds from the TV, family conversation) or other things that may take away the attention to the task at hand. This way your child can dive in and move forward to finish without being tempted to engage in other social activities. You might want to model this behavior by using this time to read, go through your mail, or do some other task that requires your focus. This way you both are doing what needs to be done TOGETHER!
- Find the best time to do homework after school—and stick to it.
Does your child like to come in and get homework over with, or do they like a little downtime and a snack first. Be kind to your child and find out how they work best. School can be a stressful and sometimes overwhelming experience to them. They could go through a range of emotions throughout the day. They also expend lots of energy. Sometimes, having a little break from the action and starting homework a little later in the evening is not the end of the world. They may actually be more productive in the long run. Think of how much better you can focus after a little break! BUT…the main point is– no free time or social activities until homework is done.
- Praise your child’s effort…not just the final result.
Your approval means everything to your child. Whether they say it or not or whether they act like it or not—they want to please you. That being said, be sure to praise their efforts. Getting good grades is great, but showing persistence when the going gets tough and sticking with school when it becomes more difficult deserves words of support and encouragement from YOU. Remember the last time someone praised you for your efforts? It made you feel really good right? Well, our children need that more than ever during these vulnerable years of growing up.
Did you get all of that? Well, just to make sure, here is a short, fun video to enjoy…
NOW….that our homework is done…let’s all go play some XBOX!