Solutions to Homework Hassles
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Remember when your children started kindergarten and couldn’t wait to start nightly homework? The excitement, packets of A-B-C and 1-2-3 practice, reading logs, coloring pages. If your children are like mine, their enthusiasm eventually wore off. Dread and drama stepped in. Now, perhaps your children suddenly can’t even get started, they can’t stay on task or even find basic supplies. Meanwhile, you’re tearing your hair out. You’re nagging and everyone is miserable. If this sounds familiar, homework time at your home has become a recurring nightmare. Never fear! The 3D Parent is coming to the rescue! Here are some game-changing tips that will alleviate homework hassles.
In the vein of “no parent walks alone,” let me share a resource that inspired many of these tips. John Roseman is an authority on this topic and I recommend you read more from his book: Ending the Homework Hassle.
But first, let’s start with what we learned in Kindergarten (and for some of us preschool). These are the ABC’s of helping our children with their homework.
All By Myself
“A” stands for “all by myself.” Kids should feel empowered to do most of the work on their own. Your younger children (K-2nd) may need more support in taking an inventory of the nightly homework. Older children (3-8) should be able to manage on their own.
It all starts with a consistent time for your child to complete their homework each day. You may want to establish a visual for younger kids who don’t yet have their planners. You can easily use a dry erase marker on a clock to indicate sections of time to set expectations. Something similar to these examples from www.thekrazycouponlady.com:
Next, you will want to find a quiet, distraction-free place for your child/ren to do their homework. For some, the kitchen table transforms into a homework station before dinner, while for others, a clean desk in a quiet part of the home works well.
To alleviate time wasted by looking for homework supplies, create a “Homework Survival Kit” full of essentials. Grab a craft box or photo box and fill it with sharpened pencils, pens, paper, a ruler, markers, colored pencils, crayons, a calculator and times tables. You can also attach times tables, numbers, the alphabet and reminders (like when library books are due) to the inside lid. Children with weekly homework packets can also store the packets in the box during the week. You can find a link to a pdf file with materials and steps for making your own homework survival kids here.
Here is an example of a homework survival kit I made for my daughter:
“B” stands for “back off.” It merely means, stay out of your child’s way unless asked. Distance gives them the power to do the work on their own or ask for help when needed. As an empowered parent, you play the role of the consultant. Don’t hover! If your children request help, have them come to you, vs. you going to them. This teaches initiative and cuts down on unnecessary requests for help.
Kids get frustrated and homework is often a trigger for feelings of frustration. Don’t rush to help if your children sound frustrated. Let them try to persevere on their own first before jumping in too quickly to save the day. Also, keep in mind that your child may need to vent built-up frustration from the day and it all comes out during homework time.
Call it Quits
“C” stands for “call it quits.” Set an appropriate time limit to complete assignments and stick to it. If homework needs to be done by dinnertime, then use that as a cutoff.
Ask your child’s teacher what is an appropriate amount of time for their grade level, but the general rule is about 10 minutes per grade level- so 1st: 10 minutes, 2nd: 20 minutes., 3rd: 30 minutes, and so on. You can also help your child keep track of time by adding a digital timer to the homework survival kit. If your child is seriously stuck, stressed, or overwhelmed, do not dive into the deep end to rescue (or drown) them. Most of all, don’t make homework something that you fight about with your child.
Instead, bring in reinforcements to help. Send a quick email to the teacher or write a quick note explaining what happened at home during homework. No teacher wants homework to be a tearful or stressful experience. They need to know if your child is struggling so they can help make a plan.
Save the Screens
“S” is for “save the screens.” Save screens until after all homework is completed. When your children get home from school, provide snacks, exercise, and an opportunity for free-play (just as long as it does not include a screen).
Studies show that the use of tablets, smartphones, video games, TV, and computer games triggers the reward center of the brain (dopamine receptors). Understandably, math homework or reading a book can pale in comparison to screen-based activities, making it tough to focus on schoolwork. Instead, consider using screen time as motivation. Many parents find that permitting 30 minutes to 1 hour of screen time after homework is completed works well. Others choose to forgo screens during the school week and just save it for the weekends. Others have chosen a screen-free family (I bow down to you). If you do permit screen time after homework is finished, just make sure it has a time limit and you are aware of what content your children are taking in.
You can find a link to my King 5 Weekend Morning News segment "How to Cut Down on Homework Stress " here.
If you want to share your great ideas for solving homework hassles, drop me a line at email@example.com or tag @the3Dparent on Instagram or The 3D Parent page on Facebook. #the3dparent #endhomeworkhassels