By Amanda Morin
Homework has huge potential to be a sore spot between kids and parents. Before it becomes a hassle in your house, check out these easy-to-remember tips for avoiding homework battles with your grade-schooler.
Your grade-schooler may not be ready to do homework unsupervised. But having you right at the table with him can create too much pressure. Stay nearby and be on hand if he wants you. Having you nearby can help him feel that you’re confident in him, but also that he can reach out if he needs help.
All kids, not just kids with learning and attention issues, can feel overwhelmed at the idea of doing all of their homework straight through. Encourage your child to take a few minutes off between subjects, to build in a snack break or to get up and move around when he starts feeling restless. Taking a little time to regroup and refresh can make his homework hours more productive.
A consistent homework routine can help you and your child stay calmer and avoid homework battles. Setting up a homework station, even a portable one, can ease the chaos of trying to find a place for your child to work. Having a set time for your child to do homework or a deadline makes it easier for you to be on hand to help if you’re needed.
Homework battles don’t typically appear out of nowhere. Kids usually get upset and complain about doing homework for a reason. Being able to detect what that reason is can help you defuse battles before they begin.
To figure out what’s upsetting your child, it helps to have a good sense of what his trouble spots are. Then you can address problems specifically: If writing is hard for him and he has a lot of writing homework, help him create a plan of attack. If it’s reading he’s struggling with, consider reading with him.
Grade-schoolers are just learning how to do homework. They can feel discouraged when it’s hard. Encouraging your child means more than just praising him for work well done. It also includes letting him talk through his frustrations and providing him with something to look forward to at the end of his homework session, like an hour of playing video games.
In middle school, teachers expect your child to be a more independent learner. He’ll have more homework to keep track of, organize and complete. Here’s how to avoid the battles that can come along with it.
Once your child reaches middle school, she’ll take more tests in more subjects than ever before. Kids with learning and attention issues who’ve done poorly on tests in the past may have difficulty quieting the voice that says, “I’m going to fail again!” Use these tips to help your child reduce test anxiety.
Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.
Ginny Osewalt is certified in elementary and special education, with experience in inclusion, resource room and self-contained settings.
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