6 tips to help your kid establish good homework habits

August 30, 2018 | by Anne Schneider, D.O.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Homework. It’s often a dreaded word for kids and parents alike. While there’s been debate about the value of homework and whether students have too much these days, homework is still expected in most schools. And it has its good points.

Some teachers use homework to reinforce what has been covered in class or to give children practice in a particular subject area. Homework can also help children develop good study habits, self-discipline, confidence and organizational skills.

As parents, we want our kids to succeed in school. Some kids don’t need much encouragement to get down to work, but others need some help diving in. How do you help put your child on a path to good homework and study habits?

To get started, let your child have some say in the decision-making about how homework gets done, such as a regular time and place for homework. Also remember, it’s your child’s job to do the work, not yours. Giving them the responsibility will also give them confidence in themselves.

Here are 6 tips to help your child develop good homework habits:

  1. Designate a homework spot – Find a well-lit, quiet location in your home for your child to work on daily assignments. If your child doesn’t have a desk or workspace in his/her bedroom, the kitchen table may work just fine. Have available supplies nearby, like pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper, etc. Just make sure the area is free from distractions like the TV or chatter.
  2. Set a regular time (if possible) – Many parents find it helps to set a consistent time for their child to do homework, such as right after school. Other kids need some time to wind down and play or are involved in after-school activities, so homework comes after dinner. Do what works for your child and your family.
  3. Make homework guidelines – Establish a rule in the house that there will be no electronics or other distractions during homework time. For kids who respond poorly to a set homework time, make a guideline such as no TV or no video games until homework is done. Monitor and supervise screen time, including computer and internet use.
  4. Provide help, but don’t take over – Your child may need help getting focused, approaching an assignment, or organizing his/her work. Just make sure not to do the work for them. You may also want to monitor assignments to make sure your child is finishing them. If you find he/she routinely needs your help, speak to the teacher about it.
  5. Be encouraging – Be sure to praise your child for his/her efforts — it can go a long way toward motivating them. Take time to talk with your child about school activities in family conversations. Ask about what was discussed in class that day. Try to attend school activities, such as parent-teacher conferences, concerts and open houses.
  6. Keep your child’s teacher in the loop – Keep the lines of communication open with your child's teacher regarding homework assignments. If he/she seems to be struggling to understand assignments, let the teacher know. For some homework problems that can’t be worked out, a tutor may help.

Once you discover what works best for your child and your family, stick with it. Also, even if there isn’t assigned homework, try to get in the habit of reading with your child after school or at night before bed. This shared time provides quality time together and will reinforce good study habits — and may even help your child learn to love reading, which is a win!

While good homework habits are important, so is play time. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of children and youth. As with any parenting decision, balance is key to a healthy upbringing.

Anne Schneider, D.O. is a family medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. View her profile and schedule an appointment online.

Explore children’s services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Related blogs:

The therapeutic power of play for kids

What is too much screen time doing to our kids' mental health?

How to keep your child from becoming a media-addicted zombie

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