Now that kids are back in the routine of being in school the pressure on parents to play the role of teacher has thankfully dissipated. However, once a day there is a time that parents still need to step in to help your little ones out with their studies – the dreaded homework time.
It’s no secret that children are generally more successful in school when their home-givers take an active interest in their homework, but that still doesn’t make the task at hand any easier. Finding the time to carve out of your already hectic evening and often ending in a meltdown, it can be tricky to not cross the line between helping your child out and doing it all for them.
But, homework time doesn’t have to be an hour each evening spent slumped over a desk. Education expert Richard Evans, from The Profs, has shared his top tips and tricks for supporting your child doing their homework both academically and emotionally. Here’s what he had to say:
Set Up A Study-Zone
“Parents can create positive study habits by allocating a study zone that your child feels comfortable learning in. Not only will this separate work life from leisure time, but it will give your child a space with no interruptions to study in.
Choose somewhere with good lighting and clear work surface with stationary laid out. If your child has siblings, teach them not to interrupt when homework is being done in the study zone.”
Keep Checking In
“To ensure your child does not feel isolated or overwhelmed, regularly check in on them whilst they are doing their homework. Take the time to revisit problems they were stuck on with them, and if your child can’t work it out, sit down and model how you would do it.
Then complete the next one together and then leave your child to do it on their own. If you don’t know anything about the topic, search resources with them until they find a solution. Knowing that they are not alone will help support your child and keep them motivated.”
Stick To A Routine
“Some children prefer to do homework straight after school to get it out the way, whereas others prefer to unwind first. Some children may like to have a meal, whether that be a snack or dinner, then do homework afterwards.
Every child is different, so it’s important to let your child decide the time they want to begin homework. Once you have established study time, ensure your child sticks to the routine. A consistent homework structure will lead to better stress levels, more time to relax and less anxiety.”
Evaluate Teacher Feedback With Them
“It can be hard to keep on top of your child’s progress, especially if you are working a full-time job, but it is vital to set some time aside to discuss your child’s academic problems with them. The best way to do this is by examining teacher feedback on their homework with them.
Teacher comments should give insight into your child’s work and suggestions on how they should improve with each subject. If your child needs extra help on a specific subject, ask their teachers for further guidance or enlist the help of a professional tutor. If they are not getting the bespoke, detailed feedback they deserve, a tutor will create a tailor-made plan to improve their grades and study habits.”
Use Available Tools
“Many primary schools have a homework diary for parents to sign each day. Ensure that you show interest in your child’s life by signing it regularly. This will also indicate to your child that their homework is being monitored and will help build goodwill between yourself and the school. If your child is in secondary school, encourage them to become an independent learner and research things they don’t understand or want to find out more about.”
Give Praise and Rewards
“Motivating children to learn and participate can be very hard. Whilst constantly rewarding your children with elaborate gifts can have disadvantages of increased pressure, devaluation and a ‘race against the clock’ attitude, reasonable rewards that you let your child choose can have a host of benefits such as increased motivation, improved results and a boosted self-esteem.
Some examples of reasonable rewards include staying up 10 minutes later or getting to pick the film on movie night. Small rewards like these can help give that little extra encouragement from time to time.”
Devise a weekly plan
“When there is a heavy homework night or big assignment deadline coming up, encourage your child to break up the task into manageable chunks so they don’t get overwhelmed. Sit down with them and create a work schedule for the week.
Remember to factor in breaks every hour, so your child does not get burnt out. This scheduled weekly time is also a great opportunity to give your child a chance to talk about their schoolwork if they want to. Just by talking and listening to their problems, you will have made a difference.”
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