Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework—it shows kids that what they do is important. Of course, helping with homework shouldn't mean spending hours hunched over a desk, but there are ways to help support and share the life-long love for learning. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!
Here are a few ways to help engage and support your child with their homework:
Get to know the teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved. Actively participate in Parent-Teacher conferences as well as other school events.
Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies—paper, pencils, glue, scissors—within reach. As challenging as it can be, try to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Schedule a regular homework time. Some kids work best in the afternoon following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there's an especially challenging assignment to complete, encourage your child to break the work into manageable sections and take time for a 15-minute break every hour if possible.
Make sure kids do their own work. In the heat of the moment as your child is in the middle of a melt down due to not knowing the answers, it feels like a very easy out to just give them the answer or very direct clues to it. The reality is that they won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes.
Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
Set a good example. Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
Praise their work and efforts. Hang tests or art projects on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives and verbally talk with your kids about your how proud you are of their accomplishments and continued efforts to complete projects.
Thanks to staff member, Emily, for providing these great tips! Emily supports kids in the Early Childhood Development and School Age Services at CEDARS.
For more information on how to help support your child and homework struggles, please visit www.empoweringparents.com