Homework is unavoidable; but it doesn’t have to be a stressor. Instead of seeing it as a hurdle, homework can be used as a way to spend time with your children and learn what they are learning. In addition, it can create a more positive relationship between you and your child as they look to you for advice, guidance and assistance. The truth is, you may also learn a few new things together, too!
First and foremost, designate an area in the house for your child(ren) to do their homework. If possible, allow the child to be involved in the decision of where they will do their homework. After all, they will be the ones doing the work! If your child is in elementary school, try to choose somewhere centrally located in the house so that you, as the parent, have easy access to their location and are able to help them if they need it. For middle school and high school-age kids, proximity is not as important as having them in an area that allows for the least amount of distraction.
Regardless of the child’s age, it is important that they have enough surface space when doing their homework. When kids do their homework, it is important for them to sit at a table or desk, even though laptops and tablets allow them to sit basically anywhere. Completing work at a desk increases concentration and alertness. The child(ren) should make the workspace their own – a comfortable space for them – since they will most likely be using it almost every day!
Help your child adapt to their “homework zone” by supplying them with helpful tools. We suggest a bulletin board, daily calendar, any supplies and materials they may need, a comfortable chair, etc. The workspace should be well-lit and children should be in charge of cleaning and organizing their workspace. For more ideas, check out this DIY list of materials and “how-tos” to personalize your child’s workspace.
It’s important to get their homework space situated and set up before school begins. Give it about a month or so into the school year and re-asses with your child if the workspace is “working out” or not. Don’t be discouraged if the first place that was chosen doesn’t work out. This is an ongoing and evolving process throughout your child’s “student” life. This article will give you a few more tips on how to create a kid-friendly workspace.
So now we have the homework zone under control, but what about the people giving out the homework? The teachers! It is very important to keep in contact with your child’s teachers for multiple reasons. Parents and teachers are two of the most important contributors to a student’s educational success. When parents and teachers communicate well with one another, they are able to support student learning together. If your child is struggling with homework, there is a good chance your child is also struggling with class work. The teacher is the one who can help you connect the dots on these types of issues. It is your role as a parent to understand why your child may be having problems and what you and the school, together, can do to help.
Having constant communication with your child’s teacher, whether it be phone calls, emails or face-to-face meetings is important in helping to closely monitor your child and what they do and don’t have difficulty with. Some important communication tips when meeting/speaking with a teacher include: being prepared, be a good listener, take notes, be honest, ask questions and accept suggestions.
Now that we’ve discussed how to create a positive home-working environment, and reviewed important communication skills for parents and teachers, we encourage you to take a look at one of our earlier blogs on “Transitioning Into A New School Year”. This article shares many talking points on how to successfully navigate your child(ren) from summer to school schedules, including tips on routine setting, scheduling, calendar organization, preparation and activities.
Let us know how you’re doing! Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at our New Jersey office at 201-857-5380.
LPC, Certified Children’s Yoga Instructor