School is in full swing, which means homework is, too. For kids in junior high and high school classes are getting more challenging, grades start to have a bigger impact and homework gets more intense. At the same time, teens are adjusting to physical and emotional changes along with busy social lives, numerous extracurricular activities, and for many, a part-time job. It’s a busy and challenging time and kids would generally much rather be with friends than doing homework.
Kids are more successful in school and with homework when parents play an active role and provide adequate support. During this crucial time, the help and guidance from parents can make all the difference.
10 Tips to Guide Parents:
- Know the teachers - and what they're looking for. Go to school events, like parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
- Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a comfortable, well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies close by.
- Schedule a regular study time. Let your child determine what time works best for him/her and then stick to it. Some kids work best in the afternoon, while others may prefer to wait until after dinner or later in the evening.
- Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there's an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child to break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a schedule for the night if necessary - and make sure to take time for breaks.
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV, turn off the phone (or at least put it on Do Not Disturb/Airplane Mode) and close unnecessary programs on the computer. Be smart about the type and volume of music.
- Make sure kids do their own work. Kids won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions, but it's a kid's job to do the learning.
- Be a motivator. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
- Help them set goals. Why are they doing this homework? What do they want to achieve? How will this help them get to where they want to go? Helping kids set goals, will help them want to do their homework and to do it well.
- Praise their work and efforts. Post their work in prominent locations. Write a short note or praise them in settings their comfortable with. Let them know how pleased you are with their efforts.
- If there are ongoing challenges with homework, get help. Listen for helpful cues from your kids. Discuss challenges with your child's teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning disability or attention disorder. Give your kids the best chance to succeed.
*Material abridged from Kids Health