5 tips for stress-free homework
Homework is one of those things that children hate and parents seem to dread. It can be the cause of family arguments and anxiety in those faced with it. But homework doesn't have to be full of stress. With a well-planned after school routine and a few of our simple tips, you can turn homework into something natural and a time for some extra learning whilst giving your children a sense of accomplishment.
1. Have a daily homework routine
Homework should very much be part of a normal daily routine, much like making sure your children brush their teeth, have their supper and have a standard bed-time. If you incorporate homework into your child's daily routine, it will no longer be seen as a chore but something that they naturally do everyday.
Having a homework calendar is a great idea. Many children have different after school activities at different times during the after-school day. Having a calendar that highlights the time each day your child should be doing their homework will help them get organised; all children feel more settled when they have a routine.
Children should have a break when they first get home from school or an after-school club, before delving into more school-work. Allow your child to have their snack or even their dinner and then have a time where they can sit and do their homework. Other activities such as watching television or playing on a mobile device should be saved for after their homework is completed so that they are aware that study comes before play time.
2. Be helpful but don't do it for them
There will be many times when your child will need some guidance when it comes to doing their homework. Always have a positive attitude and try to explain difficult problems without giving them the answer. Believing that your child is capable of completing difficult tasks will ensure that they believe they can do it too.
Encourage your child to do their own research, guiding them along the way if necessary. Give examples where possible and tell them stories that are significant to their work to give them some ideas. Go through any mistakes they may have made and practice problems with them until you are sure they have understood whilst always encouraging them to discover the answers for themselves.
3. Allow breaks when needed
Children should not be expected to sit for long periods of time without taking a brain break. We all know that both adults and children have a certain concentration span and taking a break when needed is of vital importance to their study time. If your child has a lot of homework in one evening try breaking it up and allowing them a snack or a ten-minute time-out in between.
Children generally come home hungry from school so having a snack prepared for them or even a full dinner can mean an easier and smoother afternoon. Try to avoid too much sugar in their snacks as this can cause a mood crash a short while later. Instead go for healthy fruit or yoghurt snacks. If your child doesn't need a snack but needs a break you could always just have a chat and a good laugh together, have a bit of fun doing some silly exercises like star-jumps or play a quick game together to reduce the stress and give your child some extra energy.
4. Have a homework station
Making sure your child has their own private place where they can sit and do their homework without being distracted is also extremely important. A child that sometimes does their homework on the kitchen table or on their bedroom floor will not feel comfortable and homework will almost certainly feel like a chore. If, however, your child has a regular homework station they will feel better about the work they are faced with and it will help them get into a better routine.
A homework station can be a desk in their room or a study and should feel like a place where homework can be done comfortably. Homework stations should be stocked with any necessary tools for their various homework assignments, such as dictionaries, pens, pencils, notebooks, rulers, glue, highlighter pens, scissors etc. That way your child will not have to keep leaving their desk to go and find things that they need. It is a great way to make sure homework is done in a shorter space of time whilst making your child feel comfortable.
5. Keep distractions away
Distractions of any sort can be the cause of homework stress and delays. Making sure your child does not have access to any mobile devices, loud televisions or noisy siblings will take away any temptations to stop doing their work and ensure they have the quiet they need to complete their work well.
Homework may not always be something fun but it does not have to be a chore or the cause of continuous arguments. Following our simple tips will ensure that homework becomes part of your child's daily routine and something that they no longer dread. Make sure you always praise your child for their efforts and be there to support them when they need some help and homework will become a normal part of their day.