Exclusive Tips To Make Homework Easy For Your Child
Homework is one word that makes every school child – and many parents – cringe. Follow these handy tips, and soon, homework related tension will become a thing of the past.
By Aarthi Arun
“Five more minutes,” 11-year-old Aarav (name changed) yells, when his mother tries to herd him back home from the playground. It is 6:00 pm sharp. His exasperated mother replies, “Who is going to do all the homework?” Aarav doesn't seem to hear his mother. Five minutes become 10, then 20, and finally, at 6:45 pm, Aarav heads home. He argues with his mother all the way home that he never gets enough time to play and that he hates homework. This happens almost every day. Aarav’s mother is not the only parent facing this situation every day.
If our children learn to take some responsibility and do things on their own without repeated reminders, will it not take some weight off our shoulders? There are ways you can encourage your child to tackle homework like a piece of cake.
How homework helps
Do you often wonder if the everyday battle with the mounds of homework is worth it? You're not alone. But, regular homework is, in fact, good for your child. Here are some reasons why:
- Homework helps your child to better understand the concepts she has learned at school, and practise skills at home. It also prepares her for the upcoming lessons.
- Regularly homework provides an opportunity for your child to work independently and cultivate skills like accountability and self-discipline. Interestingly, a study by Göllner, Richard, et al, titled, ‘Is doing your homework associated with becoming more conscientious?’ published in the Journal of Research in Personality 71 (2017) found that children who regularly did homework were more conscientious than their peers who didn't. So, the next time you see your child doing the right thing, make sure to thank his teacher for assigning homework.
- Homework lets your child learn lessons in a relaxed setting without any time constraints. By working on a homework assignment, he can also explore more about the subject.
- Above all, homework is the best way to know your child's strengths and weaknesses. Remember, your active involvement in her education is going to set a stage for her academic success.
How to beat the homework blues
So, now that you know the benefits of homework, how can you encourage your champ to finish up homework without complaining? We have got some exclusive tips:
Assign space for homework
Ask your child to set up a dedicated study area with a table and stationery for doing homework. Choose a quiet place where she is away from the distractions of TV or gadgets.
Sit down with your child and come up with a plan at the beginning of the school year. Ask questions like ‘when is he going to do the homework – after playtime or before?’, ‘Is he comfortable to do it in the mornings?’, ‘How will the homework schedule fit in with his extracurricular activities?’, ‘What if he trails off the schedule – is there a backup plan?’
Take one step at a time
When you find that your child is overwhelmed with the quantity of the homework, try to break it into smaller portions. He can do one portion, then take a break or go for a walk, and finish the next portion after the break.
If your child is struggling with a concept, read her books and try to explain the concept in simple words. If the concept is too complex, don't hesitate to look it up online. This way, you're also sharing the joy of learning and modelling healthy learning habits.
Have a reward system in place
Sometimes, all that your child needs is some extra motivation to keep going. Appreciate his efforts by rewarding him. For instance, if your child is consistent with his homework for a month or so, take him out for a day trip or a restaurant or do one of his favourite activities.
Liaise with your child's school
It is the quality of the homework that matters over the quantity. Ideally, homework should not take more than a couple of hours to finish. More importantly, it should not stress your child out. When in doubt, check with your child's teacher or school, and ask about cutting down the quantity or improving the quality of homework.
What not to do
In the name of helping our children, we shouldn't take it too far. Here's how to strike that balance:
- Guide, don't take over: School assignments are meant for your child to finish – unless the teacher has explicitly asked the parent to do something. It is not your responsibility to finish her homework so that she can save her face in class. Doing so will only get her into the habit of waiting for you to rescue her, and will negatively impact her confidence.
- Playtime is precious: You know what all work, no play does to Jack. In the same way, your child needs to play to thrive. By playing, he can stretch and exercise his growing limbs. Playing also sharpens his critical thinking and problem-solving skills. So, don't make his entire day about academics – make playtime mandatory.
- Rigidity is a no-no: As with everything, be prepared for hiccups along the way. Don't scold, push or punish your child for every bump. Homework is just one aspect of your child's academics. Be flexible, stay calm and gently guide her to try again.
Follow these tips and watch your child grow into a responsible and independent person who is always keen to learn.
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