Even when you're not in school anymore, homework time can be a dreaded part of your day thanks to your little one's tears. Whether your child forgets a majority of his or her assignments, puts everything off until the last minute, or stages a battle each time you attempt to get them to sit down and focus, the endless hours of schoolwork can be just as exhausting for parents. If you're sick of the homework war, change things up this school year to get your child into a homework routine early on that will save you both from frustration down the road. Check out these nine ways to instill healthy homework habits from day one.
- Start Your Routine Early: It's not only important to get your kids in a homework routine from a young age, but it's also important to consider what time of day you devote to knocking assignments out. If possible, don't wait until after dinner to get things started or breakfast the next morning to finish things up. This will put your child in the habit of putting things off and staying up later to get work done.
- Map Things Out: Teach your kids how to create a monthly calendar and daily checklist. This will allow them to break bigger projects down into more manageable tasks and enable them to plan ahead for busier times so they don't get slammed with everything to do on the same day.
- Have a Specific Homework Area: Create a dedicated space just for doing homework each day. Not only will preparing this area with have everything they need reduce distractions, but it will also help them get into a focused mindset each time they sit down.
- Teach Them the Essentials: Your child isn't going to automatically know how to manage their time and have impeccable self-discipline. Create expectations for homework time and a consistent standard each day to make these vital studying skills a habit instead of a daily battle.
- Rethink Your Approach: Homework isn't always going to be fun, and if you go into the routine dreading it each day, your child's response will be just as negative. Instead, don't engage in the fight or escalate the battle. Be prepared to stay consistent and strong in the beginning or else you're setting yourself up to have the same problems every night.
- Recognize Micromanagement: Even if you're helping your child get good grades in the short term, you're doing them a disservice in the long run by setting them up to be dependent on you. Empower your child by taking a step back and letting them be responsible for remembering and completing their own work. Once they recognize that it's their name on the paper being graded — not yours — they'll start learning how to take responsibility. In the process, don't be afraid to let them fall if they deserve to and instead of saving them, let them learn the consequences of not taking their work seriously the hard way.
- Have Dedicated Times: Consider setting a timer for chunks of uninterrupted homework time followed by the promise of school-free fun after. Not only will this prompt kids to focus more during the working hour, but it will also give them motivation to power through toward something more engaging after.
- Know Your Child: Don't take a completely hands-on or -off approach to homework time. Instead, be involved enough in the process to know what areas your kid struggles with to give some extra guidance and what assignments they are capable of powering through on their own.
- Be a Model: Kids learn values and habits from their parents, so show them that accomplishing work by deadlines is a major part of being an adult. Use their homework time to quietly take care of your own personal assignments. Whether it's focusing on paying bills or catching up on emails, your focus will encourage them to sit down and take care off their own business as well.