Back to School: Stress-free Homework Tips
Getting back into the swing of things can be difficult for every age and when it comes to homework that can bring stress to the parent and student.
Sometimes a little adjustment will make a huge difference and help to turn homework into a more positive experience. Here are ten tips to help kids and parents reduce the stress of homework time.
1. Have a Set Homework Space
This first tip is probably one of the most important. Children need a set space to work that is separate from distractions. Whether that space is a desk in their room or a designated office, having a quiet space is key to limiting homework frustration.
2. Get Started Early
Don’t delay. It’s best to get started as soon as you can with homework. While all children are different, a general guideline is to start homework earlier in the day rather than later before crankiness sets in from getting tired.
3. Make a healthy snack or meal.
After kids return home from a long school day, they are usually starving! Kids can’t give their best when they are hungry or filled with sugary snacks. Offer your children a healthy snack that will provide some energy and keep them happy. Once their stomachs are full, they are more likely to be cooperative and inclined to complete their homework.
4. Review their Agenda
Always check your child’s agenda that lists homework and any upcoming tests or projects. It is helpful to read through this first before starting on the night’s work. Staying on top of their agenda will lead to better time management and fewer last-minute headaches.
5. Time Management
Managing your child’s time is key when it comes to getting homework done. Only you know the best time of day that your child works best. Some need a break after school to get their energy out. Some kids work better early in the morning. Set a schedule and stick to it so they have clear expectations.
6. Take a Break
All business and no fun isn't healthy for anyone. Make sure your child has time to get out that energy after sitting in a classroom most of the day. Try setting a timer and telling them to choose a physical activity during that time.
7. Consider hiring a tutor
If your child continually struggles with the work, consider hiring a tutor. It might be the solution that takes the stress off both of you and allows you to spend more enjoyable time together.
8. Stay connected with teachers
Open communication with your child’s teacher is important. Sending a note at the beginning of the school year via paper or email is always helpful. Give them a heads up if your child has anxiety about the homework or if you feel there are too many assignments for a young child. Also, ask for suggestions and keep the communication open.
9. Be a resource but don't give your child the answers!
If your child becomes frustrated or overwhelmed with an assignment, don't just give the answer away. If they need time to walk away or get a drink and come back, that's ok. It's difficult for anyone to concentrate when they are frustrated. Make sure they have had a snack, adequate rest, and enough of a break before starting again. Sometimes letting them choose if they want to forge ahead or come back in 15 minutes can give them the boost of control they need.
10. Develop a reading strategy.
Some children become overwhelmed when they think of reading (and understanding what they read). To help alleviate fear, you can complete some of the reading with your child. Try alternating sentences or pages. Some find it easier if they cover up the upcoming lines with a paper, focusing only on the current sentence. Over time you will learn what works best for your child.
Some children, regardless of how hard they work at school and at home with their homework, will struggle. When they do, try to help them stay encouraged, focused, and de-stressed as much as they can. Give them little reminders that you are proud of their efforts, and keep your voice calm and loving.