HOMEWORK. This word fills both children and parents’ hearts with dread. I’m here to help. I have 15 tips to help your kids with homework. I will be the first to admit that my tips are not the most conventional. However, these have worked well for my kids and the teachers claim that they are good students. Hopefully they are not just being nice…
- Give a 10 min break, then start homework ASAP. It is a great idea to let kids decompress and grab a snack for 10 minutes upon entering the door. However, you want to teach kids to start their work as soon as they get home. The lessons of the day will still be fresh in their mind and it will be easier to get work done. It is also an excellent way to teach your kids not to procrastinate. Have them get their work out of the way so that they can enjoy the rest of their time.
- Make them a smoothie for a snack. Do your kids always eat their lunch? My youngest doesn’t. This makes for some extremely unpleasant meltdowns when confronting some more complicated homework. A smoothie tastes like a treat, while giving your kids some great nutrients and energy they might otherwise be missing.
- Let them study where they are comfortable. Everything you read says to have a quiet place for your kid to study so that they can focus. I believe that you should focus on what works for your kid. I never liked being locked away in a room by myself doing homework, and it appears that my kids are the same. If your kid likes to have company, you can let them study at the kitchen table or on the couch while you go about cooking dinner, etc.If your kid needs complete silence, then go ahead and set up a nice desk for them to quietly go about their work.
- Have a craft cart with all supplies at hand. Having all supplies at the ready, and mobile at that, makes it so much easier to efficiently get homework done. Check out our DIY Craft Cart idea here.
- Play some music to keep the mood light. They are not at school, so let them be comfortable. Music is a big deal in our house. It keeps us motivated, relaxed, you name it.
- Give them fun supplies to work with. Mechanical pencils, scented markers, pens with a unicorn or poop emoji on top. Anything to make homework time more tolerable.
- Give them a piece of peppermint gum to chew. As crazy as it sounds, I read that it helps to improve concentration. It worked for me!
- Use index cards for memorization tasks. Index cards…I both hated and loved these things. It doesn’t matter if you have to memorize spelling words or a complicated formula. Have your kids make their own flash cards on index cards. I believe this is far superior to buying flash cards. Your kid is working on memorization when she has to write things out on the cards. Also, you can take index cards with you everywhere. Take them in the car and do some memorization when just sitting in traffic.
- Use essential oils. Is your kid easily stressed by math homework? Diffuse some lavender essential oil. Does reading sometimes make your kid sleepy? Diffuse orange essential oil. There is an essential oil that can help with any issue you can think of.
- Give them praise. Praise them for their effort and concentration. Tell them how you admire their gumption to get things done and power through a complicated math problem. Just be careful not to tell them they are “smart” too many times. Believe it or not, that can stress a kid out and make them feel that they must be perfect. Just let them know that you are there and that their good work does not go unnoticed.
- Give them a reward to look forward to when homework is done. Blowing bubbles at the dog, running around at the park, hitting up the local dollar store for a little trinket or a treat. It can be as big or as little as you like. By the way, have you ever tried blowing bubbles at your dog? It’s hilarious.
- Use car time to your advantage. You have to drive to practice, lessons, etc. Your kid can use that time to get required reading done. Stuff a clipboard or other writing surface in the back seat so that your kid can work on easy homework tasks independently. We also keep a book light in the car for months where it gets dark early.
- Make friends with a mom in your kid’s class. Can I tell you how many times my kids either forgot their homework at school or just couldn’t remember what the teacher said in class? Or maybe neither you or your kid can figure out the “new” way to do math? (ahem…common core). I can’t tell you how many times it helped to have another mom to text and ask for a picture of homework, to hear if their kid was having a hard time too, etc.
- Get to know the teacher. Go to Back to School Night and parent-teacher conferences. If you can, volunteer in the classroom. Getting to know the teacher will help you understand their teaching style and also make it easier to understand what their expectations are for homework.
- Look to the internet. Check out Khan Academy for coursework help. This website is completely free and contains course work help for all grade levels.
We wish you good luck with all of your homework endeavors!
Be sure to check out our DIY Craft Cart tutorial to help streamline homework time.