Pathways to Wellness

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Handling homework

Homework seems to go hand-in-hand with battles, tears, and slammed doors in many homes.   Getting homework done can be harder on parents than it is on students!

Homework gives kids the opportunity to learn and take responsibility for their own learning – which is why kids, not parents, should do the homework.  That said, there are many reasons why kids put off or don't complete their homework.  That's why a hands-off policy doesn't really work either.  What's a parent to do?

There's no "one size fits all approach" that will work for all kids and all parents, but here are some strategies that you might want to think about:

  • Establish guidelines with your child before homework becomes an issue.  When is the best time and where is the best place to do homework?  Who will help, and how will help be offered?  Whatever you come up with, write it down, sign it off and post it on the refrigerator.
  • Set up a place in your home where it's easy to do homework.  Have supplies (like paper, markers, glue sticks, etc.) on hand.
  • It's hard to concentrate when you're hungry.  So a healthy snack or dinner before tackling homework can really help.
  • Help your child estimate how long it will take to do the assignments.  Sometimes it's best to break it up into chunks.  Use a timer to mark off thirty minutes of work followed by a ten minute break until the work is done.
  • Keep the atmosphere positive and encouraging.   Remember that after a long day at school and work, everyone is tired.  Both parents and children find it easier if there is something to look forward to when the homework is done – playing a game together is a good way to recognize effort and end the evening on a high note.
  • If completing the homework is often a problem, it's a good idea to meet with the teacher and problem-solve what might make it easier for your child to succeed.