Everyone had a busy day. Maybe it was at school learning and working hard. Maybe it was at home keeping up with the household. Maybe it was at work doing what you love or what needs to be done. Maybe it was endless errands that left you feeling like you spent the day in the car. No matter how you spent the busy day, now everyone is home and ready to relax, but there's that pesky homework to take care of. Before it turns into a battle of wills or a cascade of tears, try these tips to keep the peace.
1| Be present
I know this is hard. We have so much to do, and we multitask. Dinner is not going to cook itself, right? Multitasking, however, may be causing more stress and mistakes. The more present we can be the more quickly things seem to get accomplished. If your child struggles with homework, your availability can make a big difference and allow you to answer a question before frustration takes over.
2 | Side by side reading
Many kids have reading time as part of their homework. Show kids that reading is a priority by making that time a family reading time. Everyone can participate. Grab something for yourself and sit down and read. It can be the novel collecting dust on your nightstand or the newspaper. Even something for work could count, as long as it is dedicated reading time. (And no, Facebook doesn't count.) Even a little kids can sit with a stack of books to look through. Modeling good reading habits goes a long way in teaching kids that reading is a part of everyone's life.
3 | Know what makes your child tick
Some people insist that doing homework right when kids get home is the best way to get it done. While this ensures a less tired child, that may not work for every kid. Some kids need time to decompress from a busy school day. You may find that a half hour for snack and playing outside works wonders. Try out some different times and see what works for your child. Once you find what works best, try to make it consistent.
4 | Wave the white flag
Sometimes you just need to surrender. There are days that feel overwhelming and the homework is just too much. While it is important to teach responsibility, we need to be able to recognize when something is truly too difficult for a child to work on independently. Often this indicates that more instruction is needed in the classroom before the child can do it without teacher support at home. Instead of forcing a truly difficult task, talk about it with your child and make a note for the teacher that it was exceptionally hard. This is not an excuse for not wanting to do homework. Most teachers would much rather know that a student is struggling at home than have a child in tears over their work or, even worse, a parent complete the assignment. Homework is an opportunity to practice things learned in class and provide feedback for the teacher about how much of a concept a child grasps. Teachers have no desire to know that a parent is capable of completing that math worksheet. Open communication with the teacher, parent, and child makes homework a much better experience for everyone. Homework can be a tricky task after a long day. For most kids homework is a reality of school life. Making the best out of it will help both you and your child.