Tips for Stress-Free Homework Time

Tips for Stress-Free Homework Time

Homework is often synonymous with arguments, tears, and frustration. Two of the most common suggestions are to help your child to do their homework at the same time and in the same place. That consistent homework routine can be very helpful. If you’ve already set up that consistent routine and still struggle with homework time, consider incorporating some of these tips as well.

  • Find a homework buddy. Many kids don’t need a tutor per se, but may do better with someone other than mom or dad sitting next to them to help them stay on task. That might be a sibling, a grandparent, a babysitter, or another kid who lives nearby.

  • Help them to get started. Oftentimes getting started on homework can feel overwhelming and a child may not be sure where to start. You might help them to sort tasks into those they find easy and those they find difficult. Your child might prefer to do ‘easier’ tasks first to build confidence before tackling the more difficult tasks. Or your child might want to do the most challenging tasks first, before they’re too tired. You might help them pinpoint what they are finding difficult and brainstorm solutions together. Or you might help them break a larger project into smaller pieces or steps so it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.

  • Offer specific praise. Compliment your child when he/she does specific things that help them finish their homework, such as staying on task, working with focus, being creative, sticking with a problem when it gets tough, and so on.

  • Focus on effort and progress. Rather than only pointing out what’s wrong in their work or their errors, notice progress and improvements.

  • Use their correct answers to give praise and help. Your kids will feel encouraged when you point out what they did well in their work. So try to find these positives to point out first. When you do find a mistake, stay encouraging and try to use correct answers or previous successes to help them correct their work. For example, “What did you do with this answer that you got right that might help you solve this one?”

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Encourage your child not to get discouraged or caught up on the questions they don’t understand and instead to try their best and attempt a solution versus leaving a blank answer. One trick is to highlight or mark an asterisk next to that part to let their teacher know help is needed and the concept needs to be revisited.

  • Treat mistakes as part of learning. Everyone makes mistakes when they are learning. Mistakes help us to see what we still need to learn. They also help parents and teachers to see what isn’t yet mastered. Try to send these messages to your child when they make mistakes on their homework.

  • Talk to the teacher about how long they expect the homework they assign to take. If your child spends a much longer time actively working than is expected, the amount may be unrealistic for them.  Their teacher may be open to making changes such as reducing the projects or assigning odd or even problems.

If you’d like more guidance on taking the battle out of homework time or helping your child to find success with homework, consider talking with a therapist with expertise in children and school. Contact us at (734) 323-4897 or for more information.

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