Homework can be a difficult topic to approach, both for younger and older children. On one hand, homework is important because it gives structure and helps kids to absorb and re enforce what they learned in class during the day. On the other hand, homework can take away from play and relaxing time and become a burden at times.
We put together 5 tips that will make homework easier for your children (and yourself):
1. Set up a dedicated homework area
Experts agree that homework should be dedicated to a specific area, like a desk or table, that is associated to this task. It's important not to do homework in bed for example or surrounded by toys as this can lead to distractions and a lack of focus.
2. Schedule time
Doing homework whenever there is a free moment, is not a good idea if you want to be efficient because there will always be excuses and other 'more important things'. It's essential to set expectations and make sure your children and teens have dedicated 'working hours' so they know when it's time to play and when it's time to study.
3. Be there to support but not to execute
Don't do your child's homework. Even if it can take away some frustration to step in during the process, on the long term it won't help your child if you do the work for them. They won't actually learn, as they are not going through the process themselves. You can read directions with them and bounce of ideas so they have guidance and feel empowered to do it themselves.
4. Explain the goals to your children
Just doing homework for the sake of doing homework can seem frustrating to children and teens. It's important to outline the goal of assignments to your children so they know why they are doing a task. Learning how to write well, can be useful in life so you can express your thoughts and feelings in a coherent way. Learning about math, is important so you are able to manage your budget and personal finances one day. Learning about biology is useful so you know how the body works and how to take care of yourself. It's all about making it clear how assignments can be translated into real life.
5. Make your children feel confident
The most important, is to empower your children from a young age on and to make them feel like they can conquer homework and tests. A confident child is a happier child and will be more creative and innovative in the long run. Encourage your children to complete their homework, tell them you are proud of their achievements, advise them to not get hung up on questions that they don't know and focus on the things they know and convey to them that being relaxed is the most important. A single test or assignment does not define them as a human being and your love to them is unconditional and not linked to school results.
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