Tips for helping your child to manage their homework

In our research exploring how long students should be spending on homework and study each week, we spoke with the Australian Parents Council, who had this advice to share:

 

Tips for helping your child to manage their homework

It’s hard to set exact guidelines for the amount of time kids should be spending on homework. It really depends on their age, and different teachers and different schools have different expectations.

But there are a few things parents can do to ensure your child is managing their work and has a healthy balance when it comes to homework.

1. Have a conversation with your child’s teacher

Discuss with the teacher how much time they expect students to spend on homework and how homework fits into your family life.

This is especially important with younger children, who may not understand what’s expected of them. Some kids want to get everything done perfectly and are anxious about completing all their homework tasks even if it takes hours. This is obviously not healthy. They need a break from schoolwork if they are going to function properly.

Others may race through tasks with little attention, getting them done as quickly as possible. Some finish everything by the time they get off the school bus in the afternoon.

Getting clear guidance from the teacher gives both you and your child more clarity and allows you to manage the time your child spends on homework better. And you will know if your child is spending a lot more or a lot less time on homework and can then discuss your concerns with their teacher.

2. Keep an eye on how your child is coping

You understand them better than anyone and can see if it is the amount of work, how easy or hard it is, or if they are having trouble understanding something that is causing a problem.

This can be valuable information for teachers. They often have 30 students to keep tabs on, but you have a close up view of your child. So try to get to the bottom of why they are speeding through homework, avoiding it or getting frustrated, and reassure your child that you and their teacher are there to help them.

Not being able to do something is not a disaster. After all they go to school to learn not because they know everything already.

3. Support your child

Don’t jump in too quickly if they find a task difficult. Encourage your child to try again.

Not getting things right is part of the learning process, and confident learners are kids who have another go if they don’t succeed the first time.

Praise their effort, rather than just their success.

4. Find Solutions that work for your family

Manage homework together to make it as stressless as possible.

Try to set up a homework routine, find a comfortable spot with the equipment they might need close at hand and minimal distractions.

Pick a good time, when they’ve had a break and are not too tired, hyped up or hungry. You can set up a timetable together if that works.

My kids were early risers when they were young, so we did homework in the mornings before school, when they were fresh. We had breakfast, did homework, walked the dog and then headed off to school. It worked far better than struggling to get it done after sports, dance classes or other evening activities when they were tired, hungry, and fractious and dinner was on the go.

As kids get older continue to make it easy for them to organise themselves, by making sure they have a homework spot, minimising distractions and laying on a supply of healthy snacks.

Looking for something else?

There’s more information and advice available on the Australian Parents Council website.

The Study Tips page at Study Work Grow provides lots of resources and ideas that could help you to help your young ones.

 

 

Jennifer Rickard President of the Australian Parents Council

With thanks to Jennifer Rickard, President of the Australian Parents Council

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