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When Is the Best Time to Do Homework?

The Smartest Time For Homework

As many students start their second semester, it's important that they finish the school year on a high note. This may mean studying more and altering their homework routine. While some kids work best after school, others may have more focus after a playdate. Here, real moms share their opinion on the optimal homework time.

Right After School

Many moms find that the best time for kids to do homework is directly after school, before distractions set in. As Lori C. shares, "It's a lot easier than pulling them away from the TV or a video game once they've started playing." Janet T. also recommends this routine: "I have my kids do it directly after school. I feel that by doing this I am instilling the 'work first, play second' mentality. I also believe that I am teaching them to be responsible and not procrastinate."

After a Play Break

Other moms find that allowing kids a postschool break for a little play before settling them down to do homework works well, as it helps them burn off bottled-up energy. As Pam C. notes, the wane of daylight may be another reason to consider a play break before homework time. "Once it starts getting dark early, I do let her go out to play first, only because there is limited daylight playtime, and she's not allowed out after dark."


Around Dinner Time

Many moms find that a before-dinner homework routine is best. "We tried waiting until after dinner, but then the homework seems to take twice as long, thus bedtime gets later and later," says Kim H.

But not everyone finds this to be an issue, and many have their kids buckle down for homework right after eating. "What works best for us is to do it later," Theresa P. says. "After getting off the bus, none are ready to sit down and concentrate. I let them have a snack, then go play to burn off their energy, have dinner, then it's homework time." Diane D. agrees. "It's just like when an adult gets home from work, they want to unwind a bit before going out to mow the lawn. Let 'em relax a bit too! School is work as well, they just do not get paid. Their brains needs to reboot, and a snack and play time will help. I say after dinner is the best bet."

Thinking of changing your child's routine? Test out each method for a few days, then switch to something new. Once your child finds a time that works best for them, make sure they stick to it!

What's your child's homework routine?

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Join The Conversation
AmySmith90911 AmySmith90911 3 years
My daughter has ballet twice a week and the other days she comes home and I usually let her settle in and have a snack before I remind her of her homework. She usually is her best to get her homework done about 30 minutes after she gets home from school. Otherwise, she gets distracted and tired. Her ability to focus depletes as the time goes by.
MichellePence MichellePence 3 years
Yikes! Sounds like an incredibly long day to me! When does a child have time to spend with parents and siblings? What about chores and household duties? When would a parent be finding out what really excites their child or to know if there was something that concerned the child about the day? Homeschooling, I have found that my children do best from wake up until lunch. We start with read alouds through breakfast, then have a chore time. After that it is individual school time for the olders while I work with therapy (for disabled child), and work with the littles. After lunch, they have a quiet time for silent reading, and then some free time. Once I have some time with my littles, playing and reading, then get them down for a nap, it is our time to do a 'big girl' thing - we play games, paint nails, shoot arrows, work on our Bible study or do another bigger project together, read, or do some research for fun. We get all this done before they would have even been home from school - all without having to wake them early and put them on a bus...
AyannaTurner AyannaTurner 5 years
I find that the "Little Play First" way works for me and my two little ones. I give them the chance to have a snack and unwind from the school day before we break out the homework and books.
CoMMember13613845197737 CoMMember13613845197737 5 years
I think the 1st one is beset because for my 8 year old son, I would rather let him come home, eat a snack while on a little break, then do his homework. This not just gives them the opportunity to talk with him and his daddy but just to relax after getting up early in the morning and coming home tired from school. With this method, I let him play after he does his homework and he is taught that homework comes before play. He is learning also how to be responsible and It's just good old common sense. Why let your son or daughter play first? They would be learning how to be irresponsible then.
katrinkasomdahlsands katrinkasomdahlsands 5 years
EARLY MORNING! No one has mentioned this (that I saw). I have an early riser and he can't focus right after school, and then we are into sports etc at night. He gets up around 6 and does it before school. I am similar- I get up early to work and am useless (for deep thinking) by 3pm. Each kid is different.
JulieSullivan3861 JulieSullivan3861 6 years
My 2 oldest did okay to play until dinner and then do homework right after dinner, but my other 3 were too tired and ornery by then and it would take hours to get 1 worksheet done. So now they come home and have a snack and a drink and then it's down to homework. Wanting to play motivates them to work faster and then after dinner we can just concentrate on chores, baths and going to bed. This is helpful too for nights where an older sibling has soccer or softball games and we're out later we don't have to still worry about trying to get homework done at that time of night. Of course there have been many a practice or game where I was doing homework with siblings in the bleachers or on the grass during.
JoyDahl JoyDahl 6 years
I believe that while the sun is still out for several hours after school, the best time to do homework is as soon as they get home. This way, what they've learned in school is still fresh in their brain. However, when the sun starts setting earlier, it'll become more and more important to make sure they get their "sun time" in before it sets, so a break after school will eventually become the norm. Ultimately, though, it will have to be decided based on each family's schedules and how the children do their work when. For example, you might try right after school, but they can't focus because they've got too much energy pent up from being in a chair all day. Or, you might try giving them a break and they can't figure out the answers because they've already gone into "play mode" all depends on the kids and their respective learning styles and habits. I hope this helps!
GiaEdwards GiaEdwards 6 years
I have 4 sons and they all know the routine. Come in, use the bathroom, change clothes, snack and home work.
staciabirtikidishatch staciabirtikidishatch 6 years
to christie burrows. not all children go to school from 9-3. some start as early as 8 as mine do. also they sit on the bus for an hour before and an hour after school which adds up to a long day for the children.
staciabirtikidishatch staciabirtikidishatch 6 years
This is a comment for valisa Carter. While i agree that children should not have large amounts of homework, they do need some in order to review what they learned at school each day. some teachers do go overboard with extra assignments not realizing that children do need time for extracurricular activities. most after school activities help children stay in shape by exercising, even if it is only running around the yard playing or helping with chores. However I do not agree that it is a childs job to do yardwork or dishes. this sounds like you had children to be your servants. It doesn't sound like the teachers are the only selfish ones. By the way I have 2 boys ages 11 & 9. They both come home with homework each day, they both play piano and they practice this for 15-20 min. each day. One plays a trumpet with practice for 90 min. per week , and the other one plays the sax with 90 min. of practice a week. They are both in youth group at church, boy scouts & cub scouts. they are currently playing football. they also play basketball, baseball and soccer in the appropriate seasons. This may sound like a lot to some people, but we do not push our kids to do these things. they beg us to let them do all these activities. I actually had to put my foot down because my 11yr. old wanted to add playing a guitar to his list of things. I had to explain that any more activities and he would lose play time. at first he was mad because he wasn't allowed but the day after we discussed it he told me that i was right and he would not have enough time if he added another thing. Also on top of all this my children have a Bible verse that they have to learn each week. they write it out 6 times each day and on saturday tell the verse. they get a break on sunday then start the new one on monday. Even with all this, BOTH of my boys are HIGH HONOR students and have been since they started school. My boys still have household chores such as vacuuming and sweeping, emptying trash, cleaning their rooms and their bathroom. this does help them learn responsibility. they do not have chores every day. they choose which chore they want to do and as long as they all get done by thursday night all is well so we can have a relaxing weekend with family time.
LisandraMartinez63615 LisandraMartinez63615 6 years
my 5 year old started kinder this year, he does not get allot of homework, however the little homework that he gets we do it right after school, that way he as a ''free'' play until its dinner time and bath.. and bed time.. it works great for us.
JenniferGodwin90198 JenniferGodwin90198 6 years
I work fulltime and my children are in the extended day program at their school. Luckily, most days when I pick them up their homework is already completed (which is really nice!!!) but there are some nights they still have some to do. When we get to the house, everyone is in need of a breather, myself included. The kids grab a snack, I do a quick workout, and hubby fixes dinner. Usually after the workout I check to see if hw has been completed, and see if everything in their folders is in order. If not, we complete any remaining hw before dinner is on the table. Most nights this works well for us, as after dinner is bath time, family time (chores/movie/games/stories) and then bed by 9:00. It works for us.
JosieVazquez JosieVazquez 6 years
I have an 11, 8 and 6 yr old. I find that once they get home and have their snack is the best time.
JillCarter51365 JillCarter51365 6 years
Sorry for the extra posts, key was stuck :)
JillCarter51365 JillCarter51365 6 years
My daughter has had the same routine after school for the past 5 years, we have a snack then it is straight to homework. Or she even does it on the bus on her way home. It works very well for her.
LaNetteStevens LaNetteStevens 6 years
We live in Washington State, where it rains for about 6 months straight during the school year. Elementary kids don't get home from school until 4pm. During the winter months, they only have an hour after school to play outside. Then, in our district, they only get TWO 15 minute recesses (morning and lunch). I feel that kids need to get as much outside time as possible during the winter, so our kids are allowed to play outside until dark (or dinner right now). Also, I believe it is very important for kids to have some homework and for parents to be involved with their kids, while they are doing the homework. This helps you learn how well your child is doing, plus learn more about what they are learning. And it shows your child you care about them and their education. There are multiple factors that should affect decisions on when kids do homework. If I had a child had problems doing homework after dinner, we would change to what works for them to insure his/her education is not jeopardized.
ClaSajonas ClaSajonas 6 years
I make sure my son gets his snack after coming home from school then he does his homework. Once done, I let him do what he wants like watch TV or play outside.
DebbieDiLena DebbieDiLena 6 years
I think it depends on the child. I have four still at home. My 10 year old needs to get it done as soon as she walks in the door, while my 13 and 15 year old need a little wind down time first. Then they hit the books. I find if I push the older two then it becomes a battle and they don't do their best work. My youngest is too young for school. So for me it's understand the way my kids think, and retain material. Then make sure that the time is set aside for each child. It also allows me time with each child to help answer any questions. My advice is know your child and their learning style and work out a system that works for both them and you.
JoanTelosa JoanTelosa 6 years
The best way for us is right after school because its hard for me to bring them back in study mode once they relax and play a little bit. But along the way to our house I have with me snacks for them to munch.
JulieSimmons85668 JulieSimmons85668 6 years
My rule has always been snack (if desired) right when he gets home, then homework immediately following before any other activities start. It has never been an option to do it any other way. My son is in 7th grade now and this is still the routine we go by. I appreciate knowing that his work is done and there are no "surprises" of him saying he needs something specific for a project 30 minutes before bedtime. I want him to view his education as his job, and instill a work ethic that will be with him for the long haul.
StefanieReeves StefanieReeves 6 years
As soon as they get home , I have three kids 1st ,6th,&11th grade they have so much work we star it early and get it done then we have fun time. The 1st graders homeworks done before the other kids get home so if they need my help I can help them out.
CoMMember13627087105263 CoMMember13627087105263 6 years
After trying everything, I have found that the best for us (my daughter is 8), is we do the homework at school, when I pick her up. We sit together in the homework area and do it there. Suddenly I have a child who works much faster and without complaining like she always used to. Once she gets home she does not want to do anything relating to school, so this really works well for us.
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