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There are so many things we want to do as parents: spending quality time with our kids, getting them ready for school and daycare/after-school activities, making sure they eat well and get enough sleep, and the list goes on. But when you’re trying to fit it all in and make sure everything gets done correctly and on time, you may spread yourself too thin.
One way that can help minimize homework battles is by keeping things realistic. Be aware of what your child needs from you during their free time at home. Your goal should be to ensure your child has balanced out their day with structured time for homework, meals, socialization, downtime and sleep. Here are 5 ways to prevent those struggles:
Use a timer to break up the homework session into manageable chunks. Give your child a short break (5-10 minutes) after each chunk of work before moving on to the next section. Digital timers are great because they can be set for any desired length of time—just make sure you select an appropriate amount of time that makes sense for each task.
Structure is vital for kids, and structure helps them feel safe and secure. Commit to one subject at a time. However, don’t expect perfection; no matter how hard you try, there will always be some things that don’t get done or need improvement.
If your child has trouble finding the motivation to finish their homework, take a break. For 10-15 minutes, do something enjoyable that gets the mind off of schoolwork. The goal here is not necessarily getting all of their homework done as quickly as possible. Instead, we encourage parents who struggle with fighting over homework battles at home to think more strategically about how they can best help their kids get through their assignments without getting frustrated by constant interruptions or distractions.
Add fun to the homework session. Let them choose the music to listen to during homework. Use stickers, colorful pens or other fun homework tools that appeal to your child. You might even want to create a visual checklist where they can check off tasks that are completed as they go. This is not only fun, but develops a sense of accountability, responsibility and self-monitoring.
When tackling homework at home, the dining table isn’t necessarily the best place to focus. Find a designated space around your home that could fit a homework station. Make sure to have comfortable seating, lighting, and enough space to maintain an organized desk. This space should only be used for homework, so it’s free of distractions or other stimuli that might affect concentration levels.
It’s important to regularly check in with your child to make sure they are on track and that they demonstrate mastery of the content on their homework assignments. Check for accuracy, understanding, and quality. It’s not just about the grade, though—make sure you encourage them to do their best and praise them for their effort.
Homework battles don’t have to be part of every night with kids. The first step is to approach your child with compassion. Kids feel overwhelmed and frustrated when struggling, so it’s natural for them to lash out at their parents. They may not know how to express their frustration.
It’s important not to take homework battles personally, especially not as a sign that your child doesn’t value or respect you.
Support from an expert might be an option for parents with children who struggle with homework. The Homework Lab provides small group and one-on-one homework support sessions focusing on the necessary skills to help students navigate homework efficiently.
The program offers daily homework support that includes; executive functioning skills coaching (planning, organization, prioritizing, time management, task initiation, focus, flexibility, etc.), school collaboration, and personalized academic support. Students and parents will access The Learning Lab staff members for support and help throughout the program. Learn more about our Homework Lab sessions today.