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Stress Management

September 2019

Homework Help: For Parents

After blissful years of not having to think about homework, suddenly your child is in school and bringing home piles of it every night. No matter what grade level, the H-word can bring shudders—and challenges for parents.

Man sitting at a kitchen table, watching his young son do homework

With these 6 homework-helping tips, you can learn how to support and encourage your child, while also giving him or her the needed space to complete homework on their own. 

Tip 1. Ask about it

When your child gets home from school, ask what the day’s homework is and when it’s due. If your child has difficulty remembering assignments, consider using a checklist or notebook to help him or her keep track of what needs to get done and when.  

Tip 2. Create a homework space

Let your child choose a space where he or she feels most comfortable doing homework. It might be at the kitchen counter or a bedroom desk. Just be sure it’s in an area that’s quiet and has minimal distractions, so your child can focus. Stock the space with study supplies so he or she doesn’t have to hunt for them.

Tip 3. Help, but don’t do it

Here’s a little secret: It’s OK if you don’t know how to do your child’s homework. That’s not your job! Instead, think about your role in terms of helping your child help him or herself. 

For example, you can ask your child to work through a problem out loud or explain his or her thought process. In doing so, your child may end up answering the question on his or her own. Taking this approach works much better than swooping in with the correct answer or saying that you don’t know how to do it.

Tip 4. Make time for homework

Be sure to factor homework into your child’s daily schedule. Remember to consider needed homework time when helping him or her make decisions about taking part in after-school activities.

Tip 5. Partner with your child’s teacher

Stay up to speed on what’s going on in the classroom. If the teacher has specific instructions for homework, be sure you and your child follow them.

Tip 6. Minimize distractions 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends setting up a “No TV During Homework Time” rule. Your child may need to use the computer for assignments, but try to keep all other devices off until homework is done.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
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