Homework is a key part of a child’s schooling; it can help with many things, from giving them a sense of responsibility for their work, to aiding their learning out of school hours.
Typically, homework won’t teach the children anything brand new but will simply reinforce their knowledge and add further context. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to ensure that all homework is completed on time and to the best of their ability.
At our independent day school, we encourage parents to get involved in their child’s learning as much as possible. Here, we turn our attention to the best ways to make homework and study time less stressful for the whole family.
Should Parents Help Their Child With Homework?
Many parents wonder if and how much they should be helping their children with their homework. Parental encouragement is very important, but getting the right balance between supporting and taking over the work when your child is struggling can be challenging sometimes.
We know that doing homework isn’t something that you or your child looks forward to, but gently encouraging them can make a positive improvement to their assessments and general attitude to school.
Helping and encouraging your children with their homework can also teach them some valuable lessons. Learning to ask for help when they find a question or task hard helps them to improve and teaches them that it’s okay to make mistakes and ask for help from others.
Take a look at our guide and see how you can help to make the most of homework time for the best results!
How to Encourage Your Child to Do Their Homework
- Don’t refer to your child’s homework as their ‘job’, this will discourage them and make it less likely for them to get everything completed on time.
- Provide prompt feedback. Giving your child feedback can not only help them see and learn from their mistakes, but also, as a child, knowing that your parents will give you feedback, helps to show that you care about their learning and will more likely encourage them.
- Praise your child for their effort and performance. Attach test results and work onto the refrigerator. Tell friends and family all about their achievements.
- Help them make a plan. If your child has been sent home with a big amount of homework, help them to split up each task across the evening and encourage them to take 15 minute breaks every hour.
1. Create a Homework Study Space
By creating a space that is designated for study, you can help your child focus on the task at hand with few or no distractions. This doesn’t need to be an entire room; a simple desk will suffice.
As an incentive, why not give the children a special homework set of stationery that lives on their desk? You can also pin educational posters or diagrams to a wall or pin board to enhance their learning environment and make it more enjoyable to look at!
2. Plan a Homework Timetable & Create a Routine
Setting aside a few hours a week can help children get into a good routine and ensure that all work is completed on time (exact numbers will depend on the level of homework set). If you find that the homework takes much less time than is planned in, you can instead use the time for extra reading, an educational game, or reward them with a treat for working so hard!
Setting a regular study time for your child may also help. Some children work better at certain times of the day. This may be straight after school or it could be later in the evening, once they have eaten. Setting a time allows your child to expect dedicated study time and understand they will get time for themselves once they have completed their homework.
Be sure to utilise the study space for each and every homework session, further instilling the routine and helping to make the most of their time.
3. Provide Incentives and Motivation
For children of all ages, motivations and incentives can help increase positivity, which is especially important if they are struggling. You could create a sticker chart where a star is rewarded for a good, finished piece of homework.
Once the chart is full, the child can then receive a treat such as a trip out on the weekend or a new game. This can help encourage children to strive to do their best to reap the rewards; a good lesson to learn early on in life!
4. Remove Screens & Distractions
Concentration is hard for children at the best of times let alone when they are at home with many distractions going on around them. This is why removing those distractions plays a huge part in their study time.
Although technology can be a great way for kids to express their creativity, it can also be a huge distraction, especially when it comes to homework. Keep any distractions such as TV, music, tablets, phones etc. to a minimum.
A great way to remove technology from study time is by using screen time apps. This will help you to manage your child’s screen time and will cause less distractions when completing homework. Read our blog to get more of an understanding about reducing your child’s screen time.
5. Know When to Help
There will often be times when your child gets stuck on a section of their homework and may become upset.
It is important for you to be supportive and offer help. However, it is also vital to not give too much away and allow children to find a solution on their own. Offering up the answer too quickly can often lead to a lazy way of learning and won’t allow your child to develop necessary skills across their subjects.
As a child gets older, you should give them more responsibility for completing their homework and encourage their independence by not constantly monitoring them.
6. Get Creative
Homework doesn’t have to be boring; there are plenty of ways that you can make it more exciting. For example, if the task is a simple maths addition, make it a practical task and count out sweets, cars or bricks. This makes it more interesting and more likely to capture and keep their attention. Creative play is also proven to help children retain more information.
You can apply this creativity to a wide breadth of topics, meaning that every subject can be engaging and exciting, transforming homework from a chore into something enjoyable.
7. Communicate With Teachers
If you find that your child is having recurring problems with a particular subject or task that you cannot help with, then it might be best to speak to the class teacher.
Here at St Peter’s Prep independent day school we value building strong relationships between the staff, parents and pupils, meaning that each child and parent should feel that they could approach a member of the team when they have any issues.
Hopefully, these tips will help you and your children make the most of homework time and appreciate the value of out-of-school learning experiences.