Does your child have trouble concentrating on their homework? Here are some practical ways you can make doing homework positive and successful.
Your kids have just gotten home from a long day at school. They are exhausted from their head to their toes. However, it’s homework time. How can you help them, motivate them, and encourage them to appreciate the importance of homework, helping them understand the vital role it plays in their education? Even more so, how can you do this without placing a burden on your children or yourself?
Create An Ideal Environment and Peaceful Ambiance
Imagine trying to concentrate while the tv blares in the background, or while people are chatting all around you, or if your chair is uncomfortable? It wouldn’t be easy, would it? Nor is it for your children. In order to create an environment that encourages concentration, make sure they have a clean and organized workspace and calm surroundings.
The Right Workspace: Create a calm, well lit, clean and organized space. Make sure that your child’s workspace is pleasant and fun! Clearly label their books and binders, or look for a fun shaped table. Your child has to look forward to spending time in this space.
The Right Time: Give your child the option. Do they want to do their homework as soon as they get home from school, or would they prefer to unwind first and have a snack? Would they favour a long study period, getting it all done at once, or in smaller batches?
Ambient Noise: Some concentrate best in silence, but others may work better with light ambiance noise, like music in the background. The important thing is that your child can focus.
Switch It Up: Your child spends all day sitting in the same position at school. If your child prefers sitting at their desk to study, there’s nothing wrong with that. If your child wants to lie on their bed, sit on the floor or even stand while they do their homework, let them. The important thing is that they are comfortable.
Snacks: A healthy snack before homework can do wonders for your child’s concentration. They can also snack on fresh veggies, fruits or cheese while they study.
Take Breaks: Make sure to incorporate little five minute breaks into your child’s study time. During those breaks, encourage them to run around, anything to release pent up energy.
Find What Works Best for Your Child
Everyone is different. Some learn quickly and with ease; others may find even small tasks to be daunting and tedious. Discover different ways to make homework easier for your child.
Keep It Fresh: If your child has trouble concentrating for long periods of time, vary the order in which they work. Study mathematics for fifteen minutes, then try fifteen minutes of reading before coming back to math. If their assignment isn’t due for a few days, stagger their assignment into little parts each day.
Start With Their Least Favourite Assignment First: Your child may love to read, but hates math with a passion. If that is the case, start with the most challenging assignment first. As the evening continues, your child will lose concentration. It may be more motivating for your child to know that they can look forward to reading when they finish their math.
Use Highlighters: If your child finds it difficult to remember key points or memorize text, use highlighters to help them absorb the material’s main points.
Sing It: Your child needs to learn the alphabet, a particular paragraph of text, or their multiplication tables. They may be able to retain the information better and enjoy the process by using songs.
Make Learning Fun: Help your child learn by using play or games in a relaxed environment. For example, march while reciting their vocabulary list or going over multiplication tables while bouncing a ball. You can also find practical games online and board games that are specifically designed to help children learn.
Encourage Your Children
What motivates you more, having someone commend you when you succeed or being reprimanded when you make a mistake? Obviously, commendation is more motivating than focusing on errors. Keep this simple point in mind when your child comes home with a low mark or comes home with excellent marks.
Get Interested In What Your Child Is Doing: Do you take an interest in your child’s projects, whether at school or home? When you show interest in their work, your child will feel more comfortable approaching you for help when they need it.
Reward Their Efforts: Use positive reinforcement, rewarding your child for their efforts, emphasizing their successes. If they come across a difficult patch or make a mistake, remind them that it is okay. Work together to find ways to improve and succeed. You could even try using stickers to motivate them in their homework.
Try to Be Balanced
You don’t want to do the homework for your child, but you don’t want to leave them entirely on their own either. How can you strike a balance?
Establish Clear Guidelines: As a parent, you are responsible for giving your children boundaries. Whether the rules are; no screentime until homework is done or one hour of playtime and then homework, as the parent, you have the responsibility to establish the guidelines with your child’s help. It is also your responsibility to ensure they follow them.
Mark Deadlines Down on the Calendar: If your child regularly has larger assignments due at certain intervals, help them keep track with the aid of a calendar and encourage them to meet their deadlines.
Role Reversal: To ensure that your child has fully understood the assigned material, ask them to pretend they are your teacher. They can explain the material in their own words, and you will be able to gauge their level of understanding.
Help Them Understand: We obviously would not encourage you to do your child’s homework. However, helping your child correct their mistakes and understand where they went wrong is extremely helpful. You can reread the instructions dor them, allowing them to reflect on what they’ve read so they can find the right answer. You can also show them a similar problem so that they can understand the gist of the lesson.
Help Them to Become Independent: When your child is young, it is entirely normal for them to need your help and supervision. However, as they grow older, you can help them according to their age and learning level to become more independent. You can then give them less supervision as they progress.
What to Do When Difficulties Arise
Sometimes no matter how much effort you and your child put forth, things can still go wrong. Don’t discourage your child, as this will not accomplish anything positive. Don’t despair either; there are solutions.
Homework Helpers: Ask your child’s school if they have a homework program where teachers or older kids help younger ones with their homework. Typically you can sign up for free or, at the very least, a small fee.
Khan Acadamy: Khan Acadamy is an online site that offers free help for students and parents. Parents can find articles and videos on any school subject. You can also find exercises, games and plenty of different videos to help your child better understand the assignment.
A Tutor: If nothing else seems to help, you can always hire a tutor to help your child, one on one.
Perseverance Pays Off
Helping your child with their homework is not an easy task, but it’s one that will benefit your child for years to come. Don’t throw your arms up in frustration; your perseverance and creativity will pay off. You understand your child best, and so you are in the best position to provide them with personalized help, tailored to their unique needs.