School is back in session, and new lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic are sure to be accompanied by supplementary homework.
How can you help your star student embrace (or at the very least endure) homework, find his or her focus and establish successful study habits to last a lifetime? Check out the following timely tips!
1. Get to know your child’s teachers
Events such as "Back-to-School Night," parent-teacher conferences and even a choir concert can provide a perfect opportunity to mingle with your child’s teachers. Ask about homework practices and policies and if there is anything in particular they are looking for from your son or daughter this year. Check in periodically to confirm that your child is staying on task.
2. Create a homework-friendly environment
Make sure your son or daughter has a quiet, organized, well-lit space in which to complete his or her homework. Keep necessary supplies, such as paper, pens and rulers, within easy reach and limit any distractions (e.g., television, phone calls and texts). Encourage your child to decorate the homework area so it’s inviting (but again, not distracting). He or she can even spritz the space with an aromatherapy room spray, like Zum Mist® Aromatherapy Room and Body Spray in Rosemary Mint to promote concentration.
3. Help your child establish a homework schedule.
Putting off homework until the last possible moment can be stressful for both you and your son or daughter. Instead, help your child evaluate his or her homework (e.g., type, frequency, etc.) and set aside a block of time each day to tackle at-home assignments. Homework time may vary daily due to a variety of factors (e.g., dentist appointment, soccer practice), but scheduling it in advance will help eliminate any excuses, give your child a sense of routine and help set him or her up for scholastic success.
4. Monitor your child’s schoolwork
Ask your child about assignments and upcoming quizzes and tests, and visit the teacher’s website(s) to familiarize yourself with the curricula. This is especially important in the early grades when children are just beginning to develop organizational and study habits.
5. Don’t do the work for your child
Thinking for oneself and making mistakes are key components in learning. Be there to guide your child, answer basic questions and check homework upon request, but allow him or her an opportunity to do the real work. After all, you won’t be in the classroom for the big test and you certainly won’t be accompanying your kiddo to college.
6. Be generous with praise
Who doesn’t respond to positive feedback? Commend your child on a job well done! Post an art project or recent test on the fridge and brag to the grandparents about his or her scholastic achievements.
7. Lead by example
Show your son or daughter that you love to read—or can’t get enough of the fun facts at the science museum—and he or she may be more likely to take your homework advice and model your behaviors. Plus, what could possibly be better than bonding with your kiddo over a good book or interesting exhibit?
8. Get homework help, if necessary
There is no shame in asking for assistance. If you are unable to help your child establish successful homework habits, speak with his or her teachers or another professional. He or she might simply respond to a different approach or require a tutor, or perhaps an evaluation for an attention or learning disorder is in order.