Painless Parenting Strategies to Help Kids with their Homework
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Studies indicate that kids are getting nearly three times the amount of homework than as recommended by educational leaders, which is no doubt taxing after a long school day. Homework can be connected to a lack of balance, high stress levels, and physical health problems such as migraines, ulcers, sleep deprivation, weight fluctuations, severe anxiety, and exhaustion. With that in mind, Evolve Family Services offers some homework strategies to help kids stay organized, focused, healthy, and motivated to hit the books.
Let Your Kids Create Their Own Schedule
Give your child the power to choose when it’s best to do their homework. Perhaps they want to get it over with on a Friday night so they can free up the weekend. Maybe they’re more of a morning person and like to break up the evening work so they can get to bed earlier. Whenever they choose to do it, just make sure you hold them accountable so tasks don’t fall by the wayside.
Teach them time-management skills so they’re not spending every waking hour solving algebra problems. Have them check in with you to ensure their work is up to standards — just be sure you’re giving feedback and not completely doing the job for them. Of course, don’t attempt to give them suggestions if you’re not certain of the answer yourself. If you want to keep a digital schedule that you and your child can use, look into something like iStudiez Pro, which is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Use Educational Homework Helping Apps
Speaking of apps, there are a plethora of educational programs designed to help children who struggle in just about every subject under the sun. Are they having trouble with math? Edutopia has a list of 11 apps to help them in that department. Is grammar their hardest subject? Check out Mommy Poppins list of apps for reading and spelling. Just keep in mind that downloading apps and streaming video eats away at your monthly allotment of data. Instead of using up valuable gigs on your phone, upgrade to faster internet service.
Create a Homework-Friendly Environment
The environment where your kid chooses to set up shop is an integral part of their success. If your child is in elementary school, it’s possible that they may need to call on you for help more than older kids, so choose a neutral spot where he/she can ask you questions with ease. For example, perhaps they sit at the kitchen table while you’re preparing dinner. For older children, a distraction-free space with proper seating and lighting is best. Make sure you always keep the necessary school-related supplies on-hand for projects and other busywork.
Serve Up a Brain-Boosting Snack
Kids often grab an after-school snack, yet prior to doing homework, it’s important that they eat something that doesn’t cause a sugar crash. Pre-prepare brain-boosting bites that help to improve concentration and energy levels — for example, air-popped popcorn, nut butter and pretzels, PB&J smoothies, yogurt parfait, and roasted chickpeas. The combination of whole grains, healthy fats, and protein can help your kids focus for several hours, whereas processed snacks can actually deplete their energy levels.
Implement a Reward System
Even during the school year, life shouldn’t be all work and no play. Reward your kids for completing their homework (and achieving good grades) with activities they love, like earning screen time for video games, an afternoon spent with just one parent or tickets to a movie they want to see.
It’s important to know the signs when a child needs the help of a tutor before grades severely plummet and depression and anxiety kick in — for example, spending too much time on homework, behavioral problems, not wanting to go to school, failing tests despite studying, slipping grades, and angst over homework. Talk to your child’s teacher to determine whether they feel that tutoring is a good idea — it’s likely that they’ll have person-to-person resources you can tap, but there are also relatively cost-effective online options, too.