Homework time can be stressful for lots for families. It has a tendency to increase stress levels at home and becomes pain for everyone involved. As much as it could be a struggle, appropriate amount of homework is academically healthy and serves as a diagnostic tool.
Here are few things you can do to make homework time a success.
Give their Senses a Break
When they come from school, their minds need some time out. They could be exhausted and completely depleted. They may choose to do whatever they want during this time. You can help them explore their options. Remind them they have options to play outside, play with their toys, read, draw, engage in an activity of their choice or simply just have a quiet time. Letting them to choose gives them a sense of control. Encourage some movements and outside play too. Sometimes kids need movement to refresh their minds to help them concentrate and focus.
Make sure they are not ‘hangry’. They can’t concentrate if they are hungry. Make sure they get to eat a snack before they sit down to do their homework.
Set a Schedule
It is convenient to have a loose schedule or a routine, so your child knows what’s coming next. It helps them transition from one activity to another when they know what to expect. Before you make this daily afterschool routine, you need to consider your child’s age and temperament. Do not over schedule them. Be realistic about how much you and your child can handle. Don’t be afraid to check in with yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. Keep changing until you find that balancefor your child and yourself. Make sure to pick the same time for homework every day. I suggest writing down or printing your daily routine and stick it somewhere your little ones can see. This will serve them as a visual reminder.
It is very helpful to have that ‘visual reminder’of their daily routine. I have a magnetic white board that I put on my fridge. I write down the loose schedule for that day based on our priorities for that day. This visual reminder helps eliminate whining while we transition from one activity to another. We do our homework at 6 o clock every day. Around 5, I remind my kids that they have an hour before we start doing homework. I give them a reminder or two making them aware about the time they have left before we start homework.
Minimize Distractions before You start Homework
Clutter around the area where you are trying to focus, and work takes away a lot from the productivity. Their homework area should be minimal, clean and clear of clutter. Their homework supplies such as pencils, erasers etc. should be around them, so they do not have to get up to get them when needed. Homework needs to be done uninterrupted. Make sure there are is no noise that distracts them. There should be no younger siblings watching tv around them. You should better know what distracts your child, so you remove that distraction for them.
Give your child some control
In her book Drama Free Homework, Joan Crohn discusses the importance of making kids independent with their homework.
Let them know that the homework is their responsibility. Let them choose which subject they want to start with. You need to make them more independent with their homework. There are exceptions with Kindergarteners and 1stgraders. Students should be able to do their homework independently with little assistance from adults. Put this responsibility back on them. You just have to monitor, not do it for them. They should be able to do it by themselves. Let them know they need to do and skip what they do not understand. Once they are done trying their best you can check and help them with what they do not understand. Again! Do not do it for them!
Allow for short Breaks
It is not easy for kids to be able to sit and concentrate for longer period of times and also do their best. Some kids are fidgety. They have a need to move. I say, let them move however they want to while they are trying to concentrate. My child like to move his chair. I let him!
Allow them 5 to 10 minutes breaks. This will refresh their minds. Use timers. We use sand clocks to finish tasks during homework time. Sand clocks are also a great tool for visual reminders during the homework.
Praise them, when they have done a good job. You can implement a reward system of your choice. It may be stickers or an activity they really want to do. This could also include screen time. Yes, let them earn their screen time.
You can use When- Thenterm. Make it a deal! When you do this, thenyou can do that.
Save Screen time Until after the homework
All the yucky stuff (for them) happens before fun starts. Once they get back from school, they get their rest/ play/ relaxing time. Then they do homework. Screen time is the last.Limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day. Use When- Then rule. When you finish your homework then you can have screen time. Skip screen time when they don’t do what they were supposed to, to earn it. Trust me after skipping screen time once or twice, they learn the lesson. You should be able to experience fit, tantrum and whining free homework time.