When my oldest son was younger, I dreaded homework time, and I know that he dreaded it too. This truly was not a mother and son bonding experience in my household. To be honest, I was terrible at helping my son with homework, and I was a teacher! Both shocking and shameful, I know. I would often lose my patience with my son’s frustration and stubbornness in regards to doing homework. I could not understand it. Just sit down, and do your homework. Why did my son have to be so difficult?
Well, I eventually realized that my son did not create this homework nightmare. It actually was me. Another lesson learned in motherhood. I had handled homework time totally wrong, and I needed to change it completely.
Here are tips to improve homework time:
Start with a Snack
When your child comes home from school, he or she is often hungry and thirsty. Children lose focus very quickly if they are hungry or thirsty. So before beginning any homework, your child will most likely need a snack. The snack can be as simple as a piece of fruit, crackers and cheese, or a granola bar. Also, make sure your child has water, juice, or some other beverage to go along with his or her snack. Remember, hunger and thirst will be homework distractions if they are not dealt with.
Scheduling an actual time during the day to complete homework will eliminate any procrastination. Children do well with routines. Routines help them know what is expected and truly produces less homework anxiety. Choose a specific time for homework to be completed. Whether you choose 3:30 PM or 4:00 PM every day, be as consistent as possible. Sometimes certain circumstances, such as appointments or scheduled activities, may interfere with homework time, but do your best to keep the routine.
Set-Up a Space
Your child needs a designated space for homework. This is an area reserved solely for homework. This space should also have all the necessary tools needed to complete homework, such as sharpened pencils, mechanical pencils, crayons, colored pencils, paper, etc. In addition, this space should be placed away from all distractions that may affect your child’s focus during this time. You also need to ensure that other family members respect your child’s space and do not distract them during homework time.
Your child needs you to be available when they are completing their homework. Many children experience anxiety during homework, and they need to know that you are available when they have questions or are feeling frustrated. Younger children often will need more assistance than older children, but older children will also need your support. Keep in mind that being available does not mean giving your child the answers to confusing or complicated questions. You are available to encourage them and guide them, not complete their homework for them. Remember, you are raising problem-solvers and critical thinkers.
Being patient can be difficult. We often have very little patience left at the end of the day when it is time to help our children with their homework. However, we must dig deep and find every ounce of patience that we have left.
Patience is more than just being calm. It is also keeping your emotions in check so that you can react in an effective way. Yelling, saying things you don’t mean, and becoming frustrated with your child is not reacting in an effective way, and it doesn’t produce the results you want. Believe me, I speak from experience. I have discovered that being patient takes a lot of practice. Some days are easier than others, but your children need you and your patience. Ultimately, this plan that has been laid out for stress free homework time will be useless without patience.
Homework time does not have to be a stressful experience for you or your child. Implementing this steps into your homework routine will make homework time more productive and enjoyable. Watching your children learn is a beautiful experience that you want to have a positive role in. Your support, guidance, encouragement, and most of all patience will enhance their learning and help them gain the confidence needed to succeed.
What other homework tips do you use with your kids?