Homework is an important part of children’s education. Not only does it help you as a parent see what your child is learning, but it provides them opportunities to solidify their skills and begin to learn organizational habits.
At Ooka Island, we’re often asked how families can find the time to support their children’s home learning practice due to busy schedules and tired children. Here are four tips for reducing homework struggles for early learners:
Participate in the homework time.
After your own busy day, it’s easy to think of homework time as your chance to put away the dishes, cook a meal, or do other tasks, but try to resist. Even if your child doesn’t need direct help, sitting down beside them shows support. This could even be a time for you to do work of your own, make your to do lists, or simply read. Erin Silver from The New Family discovered just that scenario when her son became reluctant to work on his reading. Chances are once you sit down beside them, your child will be eager to show you what they’re working on!
Don’t force the homework.
If your child is extremely resistant to the task or doesn’t understand the homework, stop and try again at another time. Should your child regularly struggle with their homework, contact their teacher for support.
Put time limits on homework.
We suggest using a visual timer like an egg timer or a sand timer but a countdown on your phone will work, too. If it’s taking a long time to complete a task, or it’s bedtime and your child is not complete, stop! Kids work hard at school, academically and emotionally and they need time at home to unwind just as adults do. Remember to allow time for free play and family activities.
Create a predictable homework schedule.
Put the schedule in a place where your child can refer to it daily. When a child knows what is expected, they are more prepared to accept the situation with ease. This is also a great strategy for teaching your child beginning time management skills. Our game based reading program, helped Sara Vartanian of Green Moms Collective, end homework battles. We provided a predictable time and schedule for her children’s learn to read activities with our 30 minutes, 3 times a week for a year formula that she could monitor with our weekly progress reports.