Everyone had a busy day. Maybe it was at school learning and working hard. Maybe it was at home keeping up with the household. Maybe it was at work doing what you love or what needs to be done. Maybe it was endless errands that leave you feeling like you spent the whole day in the car.
After a busy day for everyone, the whole family is ready to relax, but there’s that pesky homework to take care of. Before it turns into a battle of wills and even tears try these tips to keep the peace.
1. Be Present
I know this is hard. We have so much to do, and we tend to multitask. Dinner is not going to cook itself, right? Multitasking, however, may be causing more stress and mistakes.
The more present we can be, the more quickly things will get accomplished. If your child struggles with homework, you being mentally available can make a big difference because it allows you to answer a question before frustration takes over.
2. Side-by-Side Reading
Many kids have reading time as part of their homework. Show kids that reading is a priority by making that time a family reading time. Everyone can participate.
Grab something for yourself and sit down and read. It can be the novel collecting dust on your nightstand, the newspaper, or maybe your local parenting magazine! Even something for work could count here as long as it is dedicated reading time—and no, scrolling through social media doesn’t count. Even younger kids can sit with a stack of books to look through. Modeling good reading habits goes a long way in teaching kids that reading is an important part of everyone’s life.
3. Know What Makes Your Child Tick
Some people insist that doing homework right when kids get home is the best way to get it done. While this ensures a less tired child, that may not work for every kid.
Some kids need time to decompress from a busy school day. You may find that a half hour for a snack and playing outside works wonders. Try out some different times and see what works for your child. Once you find what works best, try to make it consistent.
4. Wave the White Flag
Sometimes you just need to surrender. There are days that feel overwhelming and the homework is just too much. While it is important to teach responsibility, we need to be able to recognize when something is truly too difficult for a child to work on independently. Often, this indicates that more instruction is needed in the classroom before the child can do it without teacher support at home.
Instead of forcing a truly difficult task, talk about it with your child and make a note for the teacher that it was exceptionally hard. Don’t think of this as an excuse for not wanting to do homework. Most teachers would much rather know that a student is struggling at home than have a child in tears over their work or, even worse, a parent complete the assignment.
Homework is an opportunity for kids to practice what they learned in class. Don’t be shy about providing feedback for the teacher about how much of a concept your child grasps. Teachers aren’t concerned with a parent being able to complete the math worksheet. They want to know if each of their students can complete it with little outside help. Open communication with the teacher, parent, and child makes homework a much better experience for everyone.
Homework can be a tricky task after a long day—for kids and adults alike. Making the best out of the situation and proper communication will help the whole family.