Homework is a key component to school success. Not only does it affect achievement in school, but it also helps to children to develop responsibility and gain independence. Thus, it is important to start the school year off on the right foot by making homework a priority. An easy and effective way to do so is to develop a homework routine.
Pick a Place: It is important to complete homework in a proper study area. This area should have adequate space and lighting, and should be free from distractions. That means, no T.V., music, or cell phones while completing homework.
Schedule a Time: When possible, homework time should begin as soon as possible after school (e.g., 30 minutes after arriving home). Allow your child to have some down time to relax and grab a snack before getting started.
Prioritize: Encourage your children to use a planner/organizer to track daily and long-term assignments. Use that information to make a list of what needs to be done each night. Then determine which task is the most difficult. Decide with your child whether it's better to start with the easiest or most difficult one (it will vary for each child) and then go from there.
Organize: Have a folder for each subject where they can keep assignments and important papers. It may be helpful to have a separate folder for homework to be turned in, especially for children who are forgetful or have problems with attention. Have your child clean out their backpack each night in order to discard trash and other unnecessary items. This will also allow you to be sure you're not missing anything such as additional assignments or notes from teachers.
Monitor: It is important to monitor your child's progress throughout their homework time. This will allow you to be available to help when necessary, determine if your child is having difficulty with any particular areas, and assure that homework is completed.
Reward: It may be helpful to provide rewards for children who have particular difficulty completing homework. Rewards can include extra T.V. or video game time or a special activity with parent. Rewards are most effective when given consistently for homework completion.
Remember to communicate regularly with your child's teacher, and, as always, provide the support and encouragement your child needs.
- Kara Meyer, Ph.D.
**The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other medical professional. This blog does not provide clinical advice, nor should its contents be considered clinical advice. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other healthcare provider promptly.