It’s homework time again! Do you dread the nagging? Is it a constant battle and chore to get it done on time? However it goes in your house, research has shown that one of the key benefits of homework is teaching children how to take responsibility for tasks, how to work independently, make choices and problem solve. These are all vital skills for later life, so it’s well worth investing a bit of time now at the start of the school year. Here are a few tips to help things go smoothly…
- Set up a homework friendly area, with good light and a table free from clutter. Give them a good supply of pens, pencils, paper etc. If space is limited at home, what about a library or homework club?
- Set a regular homework time, so expectations are set. Some children work best in the afternoon, after a snack and a bit of chill out time (not involving a screen!). Others work best after dinner. Find out which works best for your child and stick to it.
- Keep distractions to a minimum! Make sure the telly is off and there is no loud music (although some children do work better with quiet music in the background). Try to explain to younger siblings that they aren’t to interrupt during this time (why not get them to do their own “homework” at the same time, for example some quiet drawing).
- Make sure children do their own work. It’s important to show an interest in your child’s homework and guide them when the work is tricky, but children need to ‘own’ their work – and their mistakes! They need to learn to plan and organise their work and take responsibility.
- Build in rewards. If the going gets tough, set small, achievable goals with rewards at the end, such as earning screen time or having a friend over to play.
- Get help. Don’t hold back if you think your child is struggling. Talk to them and try to understand the problem. Help if you can but seek help from the teacher early on if you need to.
- Praise them – display their work on the fridge. Tell them what they’ve done well or how they have improved. Let relatives know what a good job they’ve done, then pat yourself on the back too!