Homework time can be one of the more frustrating times as a parent. I used to be a private tutor, and I think that part of the reason I was in business was because parents wanted to ease some of the tension and exasperation that comes from homework. Now that I have my own kids returning after school with homework, I understand and I experience some of the frustration. I have found 5 Simple Ways to Improve Homework Time, and I hope they provide you with some guidance to make the time a bit more manageable and a lot more successful. You might also find these posts helpful: 15 Back to School Organization Ideas or Teaching Study Skills to Kids.
5 Simple Ways to Improve Homework Time
- Give Kids a Little Down Time Before Beginning – Studies have shown that kids have an easier time concentrating and do better work if they have time for active and creative play between work times. When kids are go-go-go at school and then have to jump straight into homework, time might be less productive. If you are struggling, this might be your solution. I understand it might be hard to implement. I grew up with the saying, “First we work, and then we play. That is how we do our day.” While this is good for the weekend and chore time, I would encourage you to try having downtime and just see if homework time is more fruitful if you have provided time for snack and play before beginning.
- Add Music – There is a psychology behind music. When I was a camp counselor, we would always begin with the pump you up, crazy songs with motions and a lot of energy. Before we settled into the more serious talks, we would play the calmer music. We would see the kids settle down…even the hyper ones. We have added soft piano music to homework time, and I have seen a change. This can be played throughout the home, in individual rooms or pumped through headphones. There has been a noticeable change in the atmosphere in our home since I have added peaceful music at times.
- Provide Headphones – This advice can tie into the advice for music, but you can also put your kids in Noise Cancelling Headphones (affiliate link) whose sole purpose is to eliminate noise. These are great for kids who get easily distracted, have autism, sensory processing issues or simply like things a little bit quieter. Eliminating noise distractions, we have found, makes a big difference in a child’s ability to concentrate.
- Prepare an Organized Space – You can read more about how we set up a homework station for kids. Providing a child with an organized and tidy space where they know the materials they need helps set up your child for a successful homework experience. If they have weekly homework packets, provide a “go-to” place where they know their homework should be stored. Make the space distraction free. I encourage spaces that aren’t in the center of chaos. That said, I also want to urge parents to keep computers in a central location for a child’s online experience.
- Make Yourself Available – A parents job is busy. You might have multiple kids to navigate. Dishes need to be done. Dinner needs to get on the table. Don’t get me started about the laundry. I hope you will make yourself available during that time. It doesn’t mean you have to stop doing everything, but when your child needs your help, quickly stop what you are doing to be able to aid in learning. I have games to supplement learning in a fun way for letters/reading and for math. You want your kids to develop independence with their homework while also providing the assistance they might need.