Helping Your Child with Homework

As the new school year begins parents often experience as much anxiety as their children when they think about homework. Sometimes we reflect on our own past experiences and wonder how we can make homework a more positive experience for our little ones.

  • Start by recognizing that homework is really a contract between the child and the teacher. It serves a purpose—to reinforce what was learned in class during the day. Homework is the child’s job not the parent’s. You can help your child develop good study habits at home by approaching homework with a positive attitude. Encourage your child to do their best. Show your child you are proud of their work, praise their efforts and display it on the refrigerator or some other special place in your home.
  • Set a special place where homework can be done that is well lit, quiet and free from distractions (no TV, music or other family activities including smaller siblings). Some families prefer the kitchen table because it has ample space and is close by where mom or dad can be accessible if help is needed but can also start getting dinner ready if time is short. Some children have a desk set up for homework in their bedrooms or a family room. Choose what works best for your family.
  • Put together a homework help box with all kinds of school supplies. If possible at the beginning of the school year pick up extra pencils, a sharpener, ruler, glue, erasers, markers, scissors, paper, crayons and other items as suggested by your child’s teacher. I often found it helpful to add scraps of ribbon, string, and leftover pieces of wrapping paper, buttons and other odds and ends lying around the house. These items sometimes came in handy for creative projects. Homework gets done faster and easier if you have everything you need organized in one place. You can use a basket or a shoe box that your child can decorate to store these items.
  • Set a regular time for homework but be flexible when unexpected events occur. Most children come home from school and get right to work while others need a snack or time to play or unwind after a long day. Plan the time that best suits your child. For example, if your child has afterschool activities it might be better to have them go to bed early and wake up and do homework in the morning.
  • Take time to check over your child’s work. Turn mistakes into positive learning opportunities. If any corrections are needed, ask your child to explain how they got that answer. Most times a child will discover his or her mistake as they go through this process.
  • As your child gets older it is important that you remain involved by discussing their assignments with them and sharing articles from magazines, newspapers or websites that are relevant to the topics they are studying. Take your child to a library or museum or introduce your child to people who are knowledgeable about that subject.

By following these simple steps you will help your child establish good study habits that will last throughout their years in school. For more tips on school success visit the following website: Homework Tips for Parents

Adapted from, “Good Study Habits and Homework.” Backpack Buddies Fact Sheet Ohio State Extension, November 2010. Reference Staude, S. (n.d.) Good Study Habits. University of Missouri Extension. Accessed April 9, 2010, at November—First Grade BB-F-3-R10

Last updated August 8, 2015