For many children (and inevitably, their parents), homework creates anxiety. Given that homework is a considerably large aspect of children’s education, it can become overwhelming.
If you’ve been struggling to get your child focused and motivated to complete homework and other coursework, be reassured that you’re not alone. On the bright side, homework time doesn’t have to be difficult if you learn exactly how to manage homework stress and frustration.
If you no longer want homework assignments to be the worst part of your and your child’s day, keep reading for tips to create a stress-free homework routine. Yes, you can transform homework stress into a positive experience!
1. Create a Friendly Space for a Stress-Free Homework Routine
Your child shouldn’t be eating where they sleep, nor sleeping or watching TV in the space that they use for homework, and so on. It’s important to set physical boundaries to put your child in the right frame of mind for tackling homework.
Create a space at home dedicated for study and encourage your child to commit to using it always.
Of course, the creation of this dedicated space doesn’t necessarily mean your child will come running to use it! So, make the area as welcoming as it can be. Make it quiet, neat, and comfortable, and away from distractions.
A dedicated area gives your child the best chance of concentrating peacefully and finishing tasks without external distractions or background noise.
2. Keep the Homework Supplies Within Easy Reach
Children are pros when it comes to procrastination. Have you ever noticed how long it takes your child to gather their homework supplies? They can easily spend 10 minutes or more looking for their pencils, scissors, sharpeners, erasers, and paper.
Not to mention the distractions they encounter as they go – stopping to watch TV, or having a chat and a snack etc. So, put that wasted time to good use by keeping homework supplies within easy reach.
Keep the necessary materials close to your child’s study area and make sure they’re well-stocked with everything they’ll need. That way, you’ll cut down the time that goes into “preparing” to do homework, and your child will know where to find everything they need for their assignment or project.
Ideally, set up a homework station with all the materials your child needs to get their assignments completed smoothly. Include pencils, crayons, highlighters, sticky notes, rulers, erasers, textbooks, and school-related paperwork.
3. Rest and Sleep Matter, Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough of Them
Our children often find themselves feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. Between homework, school projects, and classes, there’s a lot going on and it can be stressful for them, which is why it’s not uncommon for children to suffer from academic burnout.
While there isn’t much you can change about the many homework assignments on different subjects that your child is assigned, you can manage the schoolwork they do at home by ensuring that they have enough relaxation time.
For example, you might expect your child to start working on their homework the moment they get home from school, and that’s not really appropriate – they’re already tired from their school day and need a bit of down time.
Your child should relax and recharge their batteries by doing something they enjoy so that they feel refreshed and ready to tackle homework assignments or projects.
Whether they enjoy playing games, sports practice, chatting with friends, watching TV, exercising, or even sleeping, allow them that break which acts as an outlet to release any tension or frustration they’re feeling.
Speaking of sleep, make sure your child gets enough of it. Do your best to get them into a sleeping routine so that they fully recharge after a long day and have enough energy to focus the next day. Children between the ages of 6-13 years old should ideally get 7-11 hours of sleep every night, while older children (teenagers) should get between 7-10 hours of sleep.
4. Set Limits to Screen Time
Today, nearly all children sometimes become lost in their own world, thanks to the all-enveloping presence of digital technology. So, it’s not surprising that they may rush to finish their homework so that they can get back to surfing their favourite internet sites or play games on their phones. You may even have difficulty getting them started with their homework because of their devotion to their screens.
That’s precisely why, as parents, it is our responsibility to set limits to our children’s screen time and be firm about it.
By agreeing a limit to the amount of screen time your child is allowed after school or online classes, you will no longer have to deal with the cry of “Just five more minutes!” and your child will have no option but to get on with their homework.
Plus, you can make screen time a form of reward for your child. For instance, if they eat a healthy snack, complete their assignments, and do some household chores, they can then enjoy some screen time with no interruptions or limitations. It’ll encourage them to do more!
As the adult in control, not only will you be supporting the development of your child and supporting their education, you’ll also be teaching them the habit of time management, setting their expectations straight, and teaching them how to resist temptation: all very important life-skills.
5. Seek Help for Your Child if Necessary
Sometimes parents assume that their children are struggling to complete homework assignments because they’re lazy, procrastinating, want to do something else, or are bored. However, that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, a child’s struggle with their homework is because they have failed to grasp the subject matter. Perhaps they haven’t been able to retain the required information (this is particularly likely with a complex subject such as maths) or perhaps they don’t understand a particular teacher, or maybe they are just not motivated or interested enough to complete the assignment or task.
Similarly, if you are concerned about your child’s performance and grades, or you feel that they’re behind with their lessons no matter how hard you try to help, your child may very well benefit from seeking help. After all, that’s what teachers and tutors are for!
Your child’s schoolteacher is unlikely to have the time to engage with all their students on a one-to-one basis, so your best option may be to seek a professional tutor, online or otherwise. Many, many parents are turning to personal tutors with great success – there is no shame in needing a little extra help. Sometimes, students just need a helping hand to understand what they’ve been learning at school.
Gradually, you’ll find that, with the support of a tutor, your child has more confidence in their studies, is achieving better grades, and even that they are more motivated to complete their homework tasks.
6. Don’t Be Critical
Too often, we put our kids under further stress or anxiety when they don’t understand an assignment, task, or project. Parents may assume that their child’s difficulties reflect their level of intelligence without considering how difficult juggling school and homework tasks is for them.
To relieve some of that homework stress, give your child the space to do the best they can even if that means making mistakes.
After all, homework is just practice – it’s rarely used for testing – and teachers just want to see that children are putting in the effort and attempting to hand in complete assignments. So, don’t stress about the answers being wrong or right; just focus on the learning; otherwise, you may be having a negative impact on your child’s ability to reap the maximum benefits of their education. Simply, all you need to do is calm down – it really will help.
7. Plan Ahead
When under stress, a child’s brain doesn’t function as optimally as it should. Sometimes, the reason behind homework stress is very simple: time constraints. Your child may be overly focusing on the homework hand-in date with the result that they forget to focus on planning and writing it.
Accordingly, when it’s time to sit down for the assignment and get the books out, your child feels rushed and anxious about completing on time. We all know that feeling of having an assignment due the next day when we haven’t started yet, and it’s not pleasant!
As parents, we should be helping our children avoid that sort of unnecessary stress by guiding them to improve their organisational skills.
Always glance through their assignments in advance to estimate the time each will need, and organise a schedule divided into family commitments, time spent with friends, extracurricular activities, mealtimes, free time, homework, and study time, etc.
Setting up a routine for your child and checking that they maintain it will be extremely helpful, giving them less reason to feel overwhelmed and consequently frustrated, anxious, and even angry.
To Positive Learning!
That’s pretty much it! By following these simple tips, you and your child will encounter less frustration and stress and homework time will no longer be a battleground. By handling the stress that can result from homework, your child will develop better learning habits and become equipped to tackle homework with confidence!