Homework is a daily pain point for many of us, but these strategies can help.
"I’m struggling to establish good habits around homework for my 1st and 5th grader. Things just picked up at school with daily assignments, and I feel myself stressing. What should I do?"
Stay in your lane. Our role is to be our child’s coach, motivator, space, time, snack and school-supply provider. Try not to think of yourself as their teacher in this context.
Catch the good habits and highlight them. Offer genuine and specific praise for the habits that are working.
Help them develop a homework routine. This includes a set time, place, and strategy to complete homework. Consider setting up homework in a public part of the house, like the kitchen or dining room. This allows for more natural supervision and helps you to observe your child’s habits.
Build in Breaks. Don’t forget intentional breaks every 20-30 minutes, depending on their age. Those breaks should include physical movement, if possible. For older kids, this can also be a time to check texts and social media so that our kids don’t fixate on missing out.
Stay nearby, but don’t hover. When your child is stuck, resist the urge to fix it for them, instead use open-ended questions to expand their thinking.
Resist the urge to correct and criticize. It can be challenging for all of us to bite our tongues when we see a mistake, but our children need the opportunity to learn what they don’t know. Instead, ask them if they have read things over carefully and suggest that they do so in a different setting – like the kitchen or their bedroom. A change in location will shift their attention and may help our children catch mistakes.
Don’t fixate on any one grade. Our children’s individual homework grade is not the focus, but instead how to set the stage for their learning. This is particularly true for children below the 9th grade.
Avoid battles. If your child doesn’t agree with the time you’ve allotted for homework, come up with a time together. Try not to remind them until that time has passed, and if it becomes a regular problem, set up a reminder system that helps to motivate them. For older kids, they can use the Pomodoro Method to set up reminders for themselves. There are also many apps to help with this at all ages.
Be careful with incentives. By incentivizing homework, you are reducing the likelihood that a child will be internally motivated. This may not matter to you but, if it does, help them find other ways to develop a love of learning.
Make homework fun by letting them teach you what they're learning. Show an interest in their thinking and ask plenty of questions to keep the conversation going whenever possible.
Be in partnership with your child’s teacher. If you’re noticing issues with your child’s homework, or their ability to understand or manage it, reach out to their teacher to discuss your concerns. Sharing your observations at home can help teachers to understand how material is working for individual students and where needs for additional support may exist.
Keep me posted on how these work! Post a comment or reach out via IG or email below. I'd love to hear from you.
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