Tips for Helping Kids with their Homework
Homework is an opportunity to interact with your children, to teach them a work ethic, and to spend time showing them you are interested in what they are working on. Whether you have a child who struggles with homework or one who breezes through it, it is always a good idea to be a part of that process. Here are our top tips for helping kids with their homework:
- Interact With Your Child’s Teacher(s) – Sometimes kids don’t fully understand an assignment, or they might think they understand, but the teacher’s expectations are different. Maybe your child struggles with focusing on their homework or with doing certain aspects about their homework. These are reasons why it is important to maintain a consistent dialog with your child’s teacher(s). Nowadays it is easier than ever to do this because you can email teachers. Pop them an email and let them know what areas your child is struggling with or simply ask them to clarify the expectations of a certain assignment. The more you work together with your child’s teacher(s), the more you are setting your child up for success.
- Set up a Homework Station – This may sound simple, but it is one of the best tips for helping kids with their homework. Doing homework is more frustrating when you are running around the house looking for a ruler or a pencil sharpener. Set up a place to keep lots of sharpened pencils, erasers, scissors, markers, colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, a stapler, a ruler, and anything else you might need, so that you always have what you need at your fingertips.
- Provide the Right Atmosphere – Make sure the place where your child does his or her homework is quiet and well lit. Turn off the TV and make sure other kids and people in the home are being considerate of those who are working on homework. Make it as easy as possible for your child to focus and succeed.
- Help Your Child With Study & Work Skills – Sometimes a struggling child is only struggling because they don’t have the tools they need to succeed. Study skills and organization methods are not always innate. For example, a child can easily feel overwhelmed by a lot of homework and teaching them how to prioritize and map out a plan of action can help them breeze through the work. They might feel stressed about a test coming up and teaching them study skills, such as using flash cards or reviewing small segments of material multiple times before moving onto more, can help the process go much smoother.
- Remember, You Aren’t Helping if You Do the Work – Helping your child with their homework doesn’t mean doing it for them. The point of the homework is to help your child learn, and the only way they will learn is by doing it themselves. Your role is to model skills and examples that will help them, and to give them strategies to help them do the work on their own.
- Check Your Child’s Homework – One of the best ways to know how to help your child with homework is to be part of the process. Make sure you check over the homework when they are done and help them with any answers they got wrong. This will help you to better understand your child and will help him or her to understand the importance of double-checking and ensuring they are doing the best job they can.
- Help Them Plan Ahead – Give your child the best shot at success by helping them avoid procrastinating and cramming at the last minute. Help your child create a schedule in advance.
- Neatness is Part of Homework – Your child is learning skills that will carry them through life by doing their homework. Teach them to have pride in the work they do by always submitting their best effort in their neatest handwriting.
- Help Your Child Problem Solve – This might be our top tip for helping kids with their homework! Learn to ask your child the right questions that will help them solve the problem through their own problem solving skills. This method not only ensures you aren’t doing the work for him or her. It also teaches your child to be a better problem solver so that one day, they won’t need you to ask the questions because they’ll ask themselves instead.
- Notice Frustration & Act Accordingly – If you notice that your child is getting frustrated, ask yourself why. Is he or she hungry? Tired? Does he or she need a break? Or are they stuck on the same type of problem that they always get stuck on, which would mean you might want to get them help in that area. Remember, when you are looking for tips for helping kids with their homework, it might not always be about the homework. Sometimes, the issue is related to something else.
- Don’t Assume Your Child Learns the Same Way You Do – Everyone has different ways that they learn best. Some people learn by hearing, some by seeing, some by writing and others by doing. Depending on the assignment, there may be different ways to accomplish the same goal while working within the methods your child is most comfortable with. Encourage him or her to find what works best for them and come up with creative ways to use that method.
- Be a Role Model – Children are more likely to enjoy learning if you take part in learning yourself. If your child sees you reading or researching something you enjoy, they will be more excited about doing that themselves. Take time to learn something you enjoy and share with your child how much you are enjoying it. It’ll do wonders for their perspective of school.
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net, David Castillo Dominici