Argh! Is homework time a time of the day that you dread?  It can be difficult to support your child with his or her homework as they may be reluctant to do it or resistant to your support.  Maybe these tips will help to take the stress out of homework time…

  • Make sure there has been some relaxation time built in to the after school routine.  It can be tempting to get your child to go straight from school or after school activities into homework time but it is important to allow for some relaxation.  Have asnack with your child and talk to them about their day.  Ask them what they have been learning about and who they played with. 
  • Use visual routine cards and prime them for homework time.  It will be easier to extract them from lego or snack time if they have lots of time to prepare.  It is useful to point to their routine card and say “You have 5/4/3/2/1 more minute(s) until snacktime finishes and we start your homework”.
  • Use ‘Grandma’s rule’ to encourage them to work on their homework.  This is where you follow an unpreferred activity with a preferred activity “FIRST homework, THEN tv time” for example.
  • Set a realistic time limit for homework activities.  If your child is not getting things completed within that time then talk to the classroom teacher about it.  More modifcations can be done to their work.
  • Try to incorporate their preferences into the tasks to make it more appealing.  To do this you can use stickers, pencils, books or special pencil boxes that are only used for homework time (Spiderman if they like Spiderman or Pokemon etc).  You can also build thier preferences into the task at time.  An example of this would be if you are working on time… the question could be looking at how many minutes are there between 2.30 and 2.50.  When you present this to your child (who say has a fascination with trains)you could say “If Thomas gets into the station early at 2.30 but he has to wait until 2.50 to leave… how many minutes does he have to wait on the platform?”
  • Try changing the environment.  Maybe your child will be more inclined to work if they can do so in the school library.  It might be an idea to have a cold drink and a chat at school then go to the library to work on their nightly reading or any other assignments that they have.
  • Provide choices and give control.  Ask your child which piece of homework they want to work on tonight.  You may need to ask the teacher to give you a week’s homework in advance or you may have to break down what you have in order to space it out into choices.  If you do this write everythign down and get your child to cross it off when they have done it.  Look over the homework, there may be no problem with starting in the middle or working backwards if that is a choice you want to offer your child.

Homework is not intended to be an instrument of torture so if you are having real difficulties and your house is turning into a battlezone then ask for help from the school.