Doing homework is crucial in a child’s education process, although most kids fear this daily routine, seeing it as a reason for boredom, that keeps them away from fun and play. As parents, we need to make them see the real, vital role it plays in their evolution. It’s important for both parents and kids to understand that doing homework is more than complementary school assignments.
The way we teach them to relate to these daily tasks also help them to set down their own matrix of problem solving for the later adult.
Here is a quick guide for parents on how to make homework really work:
1. Monitor homework.
Depending on your child’s age, doing homework together is highly recommended. It’s a great way to keep track on their studies, to understand where they face difficulties and help them improve. Check in with them, see where they get stuck and give them advice to overcome the problems they encounter. The attention you need to focus on this varies depending on your child’s age.
The younger she is, the more you need to spend time on doing homework together. As they grow and become more independent, make sure you give them enough space to feel responsible for their own decisions and slowly limit your involvement to asking what assignments they have and when they plan to do them.
Most of the time, having an adult to guide them through this process is motivating and helps them break that misconception about how unpleasant homework is and helps improve school results.
2. Assist, but let them do their own work.
It’s a thin line between wanting to help your child figure out the answer to a problem and ending doing yourself the material. That’s why it’s also important to keep in mind that, as difficult as it is, we need to limit our involvement to just careful guidance and suggestions. To be successful in school and, later, in life, your kid needs to discover the solutions on her own. A child needs to think for herself and learn by doing, in order to understand, process and use that information.
This is the only way you can build lifelong knowledge, as well as independence and self-confidence.
3. Set daily routines for homework.
Allocate every day the same hour for school assignments, so that homework becomes a healthy routine your kid knows will have to manage with every day. The best time is before dinner, but it depends on your child’s age, personality and also on the family’s routine at home. This will lower the chances of your kid staying up late, past bedtime, to finish a paper for the next day.
When school projects need more time than an evening, make sure you plan in advance and break it into smaller tasks which can be completed in several days or on weekend. Setting up a weekly schedule is also useful, and placing it somewhere both you and your child can check it anytime, such as the kitchen.
Planning homework is great for children, regardless of the time necessary to do them. It sets healthy habits, puts things in perspective and nurtures a sense of order. Later on, it will help them in completing more complex tasks in high-school, college and at work.
4. Set up together the study corner.
Create a friendly environment for your kid to focus on studies. You don’t need to invest in it. Just make sure it is well-lit, quiet, away from television or other distractions. Also, make sure you dedicate drawers or shelves to school supplies nearby.
To make it really enjoyable, ask your kid to take part by picking the colors and the decorations, like a poster, a drawing of her own, a toy to assist her during study hours.
5. Reward their efforts.
If kids find it difficult to see the point in the daily struggle with school assignments that never seem to end, it’s recommended we explain them the long-term benefits. And if they are too young to understand abstract concepts like personal development or success in life, we can associate this story with positive feelings, like incentives. They give a kid something to look forward to after completing homework and they will help them to always associate overcoming an effort with satisfaction.
They can take the form of choice: kids can choose if they want to have breaks along the way or a chocolate chip cookie, they can choose what to do with the spare time if they finish earlier or what color to wear the next day to school. Giving children the opportunity to make their own choices along the way, helps them gain ownership over homework and make plans like those above turn into healthy habits throughout their life.