Making Homework a Habit

Many children dislike homework. Homework may not be fun for parents either. If children dawdle and parents nag, study time can turn into a battle. The following tips will help you avoid conflict:

  • Assign a work space at home. Find a clean, well-lit, uncluttered area in your home that is away from distractions. Keep all necessary supplies handy so your child can jump right into assignments.
  • Establish firm ground rules at the beginning of the school year. For example, if homework must be completed before your child talks on the phone or goes outside, set that rule and stick with it.
  • Encourage children to tackle the harder work first, because they are likely to become tired as the evening progresses.
  • Determine your level of involvement. Young children may need help adjusting to the responsibility of doing homework each day. If your child has special needs, she may require more supervision and direction in some or all subjects. Establish your availability, monitor progress and be a sounding board for your child's ideas. But don't actually do the work for your child.
  • Set an example. Most students have regular reading assignments. To show your support, get in the habit of sitting down and reading a book, magazine or newspaper while your child is also reading.
  • Become familiar with the material your child is learning. Ask your child's teacher about the content of subjects so that you will understand what your child is learning and can offer support.
  • Keep a classmate phone list. This can be useful if forgetting to bring assignments home or not understanding the directions is a common problem.
  • Determine if there is a problem. If children procrastinate or protest about doing homework, try to pinpoint the difficulty. If there is a problem, discuss it with your child and his teacher.
  • Praise your child's efforts. Display her papers and projects, not just the ones that sport an "A."