Homework for Parents

I have a few suggestions for parents whose children are assigned homework. First, DON’T DO THE HOMEWORK FOR THEM! It is so tempting to try to help your child by relieving his stress or pressure. Unfortunately, this is parenting for the short run. It deprives the child from learning the material assigned. It teaches them that they will be rescued from poor time management. What could you do instead, in order to be helpful? Read on.
Do provide quiet space for your child. Many children are distracted by the TV or radio in the background. Does your child like to do homework alone or in a room where you are working on something else? When your child is having difficulty with homework it is not an optimal time to scold them for delaying. Scold later, but help them solve the problem right then by asking what they might do to solve the problem: e-mail a fellow student, check the assignment again, look something up in a dictionary or encyclopedia, or even write the teacher note regarding why they think they are having trouble with the assignment.
Check with your child’s school to find out what their homework policy is. Is your child taking significantly more time that the school indicates in the policy? This might suggest that your child needs some extra help with a subject, but it can also happen when teachers of different subjects don’t coordinate the timing of assignments.
Even more fundamental, is your child getting enough sleep? Pediatric research suggests that many children and adolescents are seriously sleep deprived. Is your family and/or your teen over-scheduled? Finally, think through your family’s policies regarding use of technology. I prefer to have cell phones turned off at bedtime so adolescents are not awakened by texts from night-owl friends. I also recommend that computers be used in public areas of the house so that children and youth are protected from outsiders and from their own impulse to connect with friends rather than concentrate on homework.

About melodymlowmanma@gmail.com

Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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