Create a Positive Work Environment
Pick a spot Choose a comfortable, well-lit place for kids to do their homework. Using this space only for homework and school projects helps kids stay on task. Pens, pencils, paper, a calculator and reference materials should all be close at hand. Younger kids may need additional items such as crayons or safety scissors. Make sure that they have everything they need while working so that they don't have to keep getting up to find supplies.
Clear the clutter Desks and work tables have a way of accumulating unwanted junk. Empty pens and broken pencils get pushed aside, paper clips and rubber bands are tossed away and piles of papers stack up quickly. It's important to manage clutter as it appears so that kids aren't distracted by it during homework time.
Take a break from TV Television is a major distraction for kids of all ages. When it's time to do homework, the TV should go off. If possible, keep the designated homework area separate from any room that has a TV to help kids avoid the temptation to procrastinate. Other family members should avoid watching as well, since background noise can be just as distracting as the TV itself.
Stop texting Cell phones, laptops and tablets should be turned off during homework time. If kids need to use the computer for an assignment, that's fine, but texts, chats and social media interactions should wait until all homework is done.
Make homework top priority Completing daily assignments should be the most important thing that kids do each afternoon. Eliminating clutter and turning off electronics allows kids to focus solely on homework. Putting homework before TV, phone time and computer time helps kids learn to establish their priorities and begin to see work as something that requires focus and attention.
Keep a regular schedule Kids have different times of the day when they're most productive. Some like to come home and get their homework done right away; others need a little time to unwind after school. Whatever the case, doing homework at the same time every day helps to avoid procrastination and ensure that all assignments are completed.
Make a list Kids should write down daily assignments in a designated assignment book or notebook. This helps them to keep track of everything that they have to do during homework time and gives parents a way to see what teachers expect of their children. Checking off each completed assignment is a big motivator for kids of all ages. Being able to see tangible signs of progress gives them the incentive to keep moving forward.
Know when to take a break Plowing through assignments until every single one is done isn't always the best approach. If kids start to get frustrated or begin to create distractions for themselves, it's time to take a step back. Taking a walk or having a small snack breaks up the work, allowing kids to rest a little before returning to tackle a tough problem.
Set reasonable goals Some kids have a harder time focusing on their work than others depending on age and the difficulty level of the assignments. It's important for kids to have homework goals that are appropriate for their age groups and learning styles. Although the overall goal is to complete all homework in a timely manner, dividing homework time by subject or working in a planned break can help kids get things done without burning out.
Include Parental Involvement
Be there to answer questions It's normal for kids of all ages to come up against something confusing or frustrating while doing homework. Parents should be there to offer help and encouragement. However, be careful not to give kids the answer outright. Instead, ask questions that inspire them to think for themselves and find their own ways to solve problems. The resulting feeling of accomplishment is a powerful form of motivation.
Help kids get organized Good work habits established at a young age will stay with kids as they get older. Teach kids how to properly keep track of homework in their assignment books or notebooks. Buy a binder or two for homework papers and spend some time organizing assignments by subject or in whatever way makes the most sense. Use these systems to help kids prioritize their homework assignments and get things done during the allotted time.
Acknowledge a job well done Homework is meant to help kids gain a deeper understanding of the things that they're studying in school. Doing well on homework translates to better performance in the classroom and on tests. Boost kids' confidence by posting their best work somewhere prominent in the house, such as on the refrigerator or a corkboard. For very special accomplishments, consider a small gift or a day trip to a favorite place. When kids see that their parents care about their progress, they're more likely to want to work hard to continue doing well.
Getting through homework each day doesn't have to be a hassle. Laying a positive foundation and keeping kids motivated through parental involvement makes it much easier to get through each assignment. Establishing good study habits at a young age also aids kids as they continue their school careers, paving the way for success in higher grades and on into college.