Helping out children with homework can be a grueling but satisfying task. To be perfectly honest, after a whole day at work most parents just want to get the dinner over with and skip to the bedtime routine as fast as possible. Kids and parents alike are worn down by the time they need to do homework and everyone’s on their wit’s end. Being strict is not going to bring any satisfying results, so try to plan ahead to avoid anxiety and additional stress.
1. Set up a time frame
Keep track of the time when your child is the most productive. Some kids have the best concentration right after they come home, while others need a longer time to rest and do their homework after dinner. Set up a time for the homework, for example from 3-4 pm, and try to stick to it. This will also set up a schedule for the child, and it will leave you a lot of time to plan other activities.
2. Be ready
Younger kids are prone to losing pencils, rulers, even notebooks, so you always need to be ready and have some spare at home. Get some colored pencils to make homework more fun. Further, chose one corner in home where you’ll be at peace doing homework; a well-lit and quiet place. Every child needs to have contact from at least three other children from their class in case they forget what they have for homework. You should also keep a parents’ phone number, just in case.
3. Meet the teachers
Knowing the teachers is crucial for keeping tabs on your child. This will give you an insight into what exactly the teacher wants kids to do, and teachers might also give you some great ideas on how you can help with the child’s development. At the parent-teacher conferences, you’ll be able to meet and connect with other parents who might be helpful too.
4. The organization is the key
Older children have more complex homework and projects to do. This is why you and your child need to plan ahead. Break up the work into several stages and dedicate an hour to each phase. Make brakes in between that will take the focus on something totally different, like going to the store, or walking a dog. This will take some stress off of your kid and consequently, you.
The focus needs to be on the work, which means no phones, no TV, tablets, or any other distractions that can waste your time. If you have more children, they should be busy doing their own homework, or doing something else while you finish with one child. Also, pets should be out of the way since they can create diversions. For older kids, the hardest part will be getting them to part with their phones, but it’s an absolute must in order to have a productive time learning.
6. Let the child do the work
Doing homework instead of your kid is not going to do him or her much good. They will learn how to cut corners and skip responsibility. You are there to help, not to actually do the work. To learn, the child needs to pull his weight, make mistakes, and start all over again. It’s a normal process of learning, and you should let them do their own work. Jumping in when they get stuck is fine, but just for a bit, and then let them continue by themselves.
Children need to build their self-esteem through their school work, learning, and interactions with other people. Taking a disheartening approach will leave your child feel worthless and depressed. This is not rocket science! Encouragement is the key ingredient in the growing up process. Motivate your children even when they make mistakes, when they forget their homework or when they are just simply lazy to do the work. When they get an A, talk about it, praise them, stick it to the fridge and let them see and hear how proud you are. In any case, constant effort to be part of their lives, asking about the tests, teachers, classmates, and offering your support will make them feel motivated and inspired to do the best they can.
8. Be an example
Children are more likely to imitate your behavior than to listen to endless rants about responsibilities and homework. If you set an example with your own schedule, and diligent work, the kids are more likely to follow. Regularly keeping up the home, balancing your checkbook, cooking dinner, walking the dog, washing dishes, or anything else that keeps you busy and sets a good example of hard-working habits.
9. Change the scenery
In springtime, every child wants to spend their time outside. Use this to your advantage by setting up a table and a chair in the backyard. If you live in the apartment you can bring those folding chairs, or simply use the picnic area. The change of scenery will boost their motivation to learn and they will surely appreciate the effort you put in. Besides, it could be very convenient for you too in case there are some messy projects to be done. In cold weather, you can switch things a bit by choosing other areas at home to do the homework, like the kitchen table while you cook, or spreading projects on the floor of the living room. Get creative and the kids are sure to respond.
10. Get help
If nothing seems to work and the frustration keeps building up, look for help online like HomeworkDoer website. This will take the weight off of your shoulders and it might encourage your child to try and put some more effort in the future. Before the child can get down to work, he or she needs to learn how to learn. Not knowing where and how to start can be confusing and dispiriting. If you’re not able to dedicate time to help them out, seeking help might be your best solution. Children will see how it’s done and they might do it by themselves next time.