Tips to beat homework blues

It’s time to make homework work for both the parents and children.

At the end of a long day at school (most likely followed by a full schedule of extra murals), the last thing children feel like doing is homework. For parents, that often means nagging their children to get them to start and finish their work.

Having the self discipline to complete your homework on your own (or with little assistance) is a value that will carry the scholar far, being able to conquer all university entails as well as life in general.

Beat the homework hassles – for good – with these tips by 1Life:

1. Don’t share your frustrations about homework with your children

At times when you disagree with homework that has been set, or feel that your child is under too much pressure, refrain from saying so to the child. Rather address it with the teacher.

If said to the child, they will absorb an attitude that their workload is unreasonable or ridiculous, which won’t be helpful to their academic career. A better approach is to say something like, ‘That does seem like quite a lot of work, but let’s try to see how to get it done well.’

2. Have homework supplies at home

Have a set of stationery in a pencil box that is kept at home, so that every homework session doesn’t begin with a hunt for a pencil or glue or scissors or a ruler. Homework time isn’t finished until the pencil box has been put away, the homework book signed and the books packed back into your child’s bag.

Check this out: Creative school hairstyle ideas 

3. Plan ahead for the week

Whether some schools give a week’s worth of homework in one go, or dish it out daily, you should have some idea if your child is going to have a spelling test on a certain day or of any other scheduled hand-ins or assessments.

Take a look at the week ahead, taking into account academic demands as well as extra-mural finishing times and even play-dates or evenings that you might have other commitments, then schedule homework around these. Children take on more and more of this planning as they get older.

4. Set a time homework needs to be started by, and stick to it

One way to minimise arguments and nagging is to get your child into the habit of doing homework at a regular time every day. Homework shouldn’t be done in a hurry between extra murals, or late in the evening after supper and TV. It should have its own timeslot so that it can be done calmly, preferably at a time when your child is relaxed and not too exhausted.

The best time for homework is after a change of clothes, a quick bite and half an hour of relaxation when your child gets home from school.

5. Make a ‘homework space’

Decide on a place where homework will always be done. Homework should be done at a desk or table, sitting upright and definitely not sprawled across a bed or on a bedroom floor. Pupils already associate schoolwork with sitting at a desk, so this should help get their heads into the right space.

The place should be quiet, well lit and free of distractions, although near enough to parents that they can ask for help.

6. Instill study skills 

While you are still involved with homework, use the opportunity to teach your children good study skills and habits. If you are helping your little one study for a test, show him/her how to do it well – summarise in their own words, write notes, test herself/himself, and so on.

As they get older and the projects get bigger, children will need to learn how to plan a project, break it up into tasks, and schedule time for those tasks. Helping your child practise this good study behaviour, and showing him/her how well it works, is a lesson that will stand them in good stead throughout their school career.

Read also: Assign age-appropriate chores for children 

7. Ban distractions

When your child sits down to do homework, the TV should be off and the phone, tablet or any other screen device put away. If a parent or other child is watching TV, keep the doors to the TV room closed to minimise distraction.

8. Rewards after homework not before

Your child may insist that television, iPad games, playing in the garden or chatting to friends on the phone or WhatsApp requires their urgent attention – they do not. Help your child to prioritise school work ahead of leisure activities, so that they work towards the reward of entertainment and relaxation.

9. A love of reading should be encouraged

The one aspect of homework that shouldn’t be done at a desk or as part of the scheduled ‘homework time’ is reading. If your child is still practising reading aloud, cuddle up together in a comfortable place to read.

Older children can read to themselves in their chosen comfortable place. It can be said that the less you make reading seem like homework, the better. Do it in the bath, in the car, in the garden or in the kitchen, to instill a true love of it.

10. Hand it over to them 

It’s your job to help your child prioritise homework and to lay the foundations for good study habits, but ultimately, getting the homework done is up to them. You might be quite involved in the process when they are little, but as they grow up, you will hand over responsibility.

With every step you take, try to foster their planning, academic independence and problem-solving abilities. And let them experience the rewards and success that come with it.

 

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(Comments posted on this issue may be used for publication in the Sun)

  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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