The lazy days of summer are quickly slipping away, which means the hustle and bustle of school, early risings and homework are on the horizon. I’m certain there will be some grumbling as we get back into the routine. After all, I don’t know many kids who celebrate the task of powering through nightly math worksheets and spelling sentences.
But as a parent, I do believe I can help each of three my kids conquer the return of homework, and set them up for a successful school year with a few basic tips and tricks.
- Create a box or cubby with all of your child’s homework supply essentials. As you’re picking up school supplies for the classroom, grab some extras for home too. Pencils, erasers, scissors, glue sticks and beyond. If your children are younger, help them select a shoe-sized plastic tub and allow them to decorate their special homework box. Add stickers, photos and fun marker doodles. Your kids can now take some ownership of their supplies, stay organized and recognize that they have the special materials they needs to complete daily assignments.
- Identify a consistent homework space for your child to work. In our home, we typically use the kitchen or dining room table. This allows my husband and I to tend to meal-prep, but also assist with homework questions as they arise. When it’s time for nightly reading, we cozy up on the couch and set an egg timer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Limit distractions. The TV should be off, the electronic gadgets stored and the music silenced. No headphones. If the kids are constantly popping up to check out Sponge Bob, or even one of my news channels, the homework time will linger on and on and on…
- Find the right time to tackle homework. I have three children, and as any parent knows, each child is different. On some afternoons, we strive to start homework as soon as we arrive home to make time for after-school sports and activities. Still, there are other days I recognize one of my kids needs to get outside and burn off some energy before hitting the books. I try to avoid doing homework right before bed, but sometimes it happens. If one of my kids has a larger project and we have the luxury of time, we also consider getting a jump-start on the weekends. Know your child and do your best to find the optimal time to complete homework.
- Reward your child for finishing homework on time and with a positive attitude. In our home, this might come in the form of a cartoon, some free electronic time, extra play outside or a new book they’ve been eyeing. We make an effort to show our kids their hard work pays off when they receive positive scores, comments and simply show steady progress in their reading and math abilities.
Of course homework is work, but with a little organization, positive reinforcement and creativity, it can be accomplished with ease.
Happy school days!
About the Author
Kerry Rivera is full-time working mom to three kids in Southern California. In addition to her corporate gig, she writes for various publications, websites and Breadwinning Mama, the blog she founded to discuss the joys and chaos of working motherhood. You can also find her tweeting @breadwinningmom and on Facebook.