You know that, in order to succeed in school, students must keep up with their homework assignments, read and study regularly. But getting children and teens to actually sit down each night and hit the books can be a real headache. How can parents and caregivers make homework time less stressful and more productive?
Take a big-picture approach. School is a young person’s most important job, and the work they do at home is critical to their academic success. Make homework a part of your family’s routine, with a designated time and place in which homework and studying are done. Create a “homework zone” in a comfortable, well-lit area of the house. Store books and supplies and decorate the space with your child’s work or an incentive chart. Turn off the television, music and anything else that will distract from the tasks at hand.
Children and teens will take their cues from you, so try to demonstrate a positive attitude about homework and the importance of learning. Don’t act as though homework and studying are a punishment. Be a positive role model by performing tasks, such as cooking dinner or paying bills, while kids do homework. That way, young people can see that adults have homework, too. Engage in intellectual pursuits, such as reading, in your free time to encourage kids to see learning as fun.
Encourage and reward your child’s or teen’s progress. If you see him or her becoming frustrated, allow your student to take a break or move on to another assignment. Finally, celebrate the occasional homework-free day, such as Saturdays, when the family can go for a hike, watch a movie, bake cookies or engage in another special family activity together.