School is back in session. Finally. YES!!!! (Okay, maybe I just “yelled” that too loud.)
We had a fabulous summer, but everyone (and I mean everyone) was ready for school to start. Our daughter has at least a half hour of homework every day now, so establishing good study habits is essential to her success, confidence and well being. And my sanity.
So I thought this was the perfect time to talk about healthy homework habits, and establishing good study habits with your kids.
I’ll share what works for our family, and I’d love for you to share your tips, too!
1. Healthy snack time
I know what I send my daughter to school with for lunch. I have no idea what (or how much) she actually eats! So when I pick her up from school, I am armed with healthy snacks. I always make sure she has a full tummy and some water before she starts her homework.
2. Homework comes first. Then, play time.
For my daughter, this works best. We’ve tried it all different ways – rest first, then homework. Homework after dinner. For us, homework right when we get home from school is the most successful. She is the most engaged at this point. If I let her rest or play first, I lose her. She mentally checks out, and it is a challenge to get her to focus on homework.
Every kid is different…and maybe your kiddo needs that rest first to re-energize. Whatever works best!
3. Stay in school clothes
Since she does her homework as soon as she gets home from school, I ask that she stays in her school clothes until her homework is done. Once complete, she’s free to change, play, rest, read…her choice!
I find that keeping her in her school clothes helps her to stay in “school mode.”
4. Set up a designated homework area
I bought cute little homework caddies from The Dollar Tree..and you can find them almost anywhere. I stock them with crayons, markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, kid scissors, tape, pencils, pens, erasers…and anything else that she may need for her specific homework assignment.
She does her homework at our kitchen table – ample light, room to spread out, and comfy chair. I would suggest wherever your child is most comfortable – and being able to spread out all supplies and homework papers is key.
Here’s a great article on Dailymom.com that talks about creating the perfect homework station.
5. Consistency is key
Barring any sickness or kid crisis, she does her homework at the same time every day. Just like she has a dinner time and bedtime, she has a homework time. She knows what to expect. Which means minimal (if any) whining.
6. Be present
Especially when they are little, it’s important to be available (or have someone be available!) during homework time. Yes, it is their responsibility to complete their homework. But it is also our responsibility as parents to guide them. Be there for questions. Help keep them on task. And teach them positive and healthy study habits. If you get home after their homework is complete, take a few minutes and ask them about their homework…ask them to show you their work, if they have any questions for you, and praise them for a job well done. It will go a long way!
7. Teach work ethic
This means emphasizing that neatness counts. Taking your time counts. Completing her day’s homework in its entirety counts. And asking questions is absolutely okay!
8. Communicate with their teacher
Homework shouldn’t be about meltdowns, constant frustrations, and daily tears. If you notice that your kiddo is consistently struggling or getting easily frustrated with their homework, I suggest communicating with your child’s teacher. Ideally, you and your kiddo’s teacher should work together as a team, right? It’s worth a conversation – whether by phone, email or conference – to talk about how to best help your child be successful with their homework.
9. Give positive praise!!!
Praise, compliment and high-five your kiddo for a job well done…and for trying their best!
10. Consider a Homework Reward Chart
I am a big fan of reward charts for kids. If your kids are incentivized by a little “carrot” so to speak, consider making them a chart where they can earn a sticker each day they do their homework. Then at the end of the week, month, or whatever timeframe works for you, reward them with a little something. It’s surprising how stocking a paper bag with dollar store trinkets can be so motivating…
What are your best homework tips? Study tips? What works well for your child? Please share below!