Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Tips to Creating Healthy Homework Habits

Homework. It's such an ugly word. I hated homework as a kid, and as an adult helping my kids, it wasn't much better. I finally got my kids graduated, and what did I do? Go back to school! So, I finally finished helping my kids with their homework and had to move into doing my own. Nothing can make homework fun and exciting, but there are a few tips that definitely make it easier. Here are my top five tips I have learned work well,  with helping my kids to doing my own.

1. Have A Regular Homework Time. This was a very important step for me - especially in my own homework. We are busy. Our kids are busy. There is so much going on that life will kind of take over if you let it, so make sure to prioritize. It is extremely helpful if you have a specific time blocked out of your day for homework. Some kids do best hitting the books directly after school, while they're still in the mode: get'er done and have the rest of the day to do other things. Others may benefit from having a break when they get home to let the ol' noggin rest before going back to studying. Whatever works best for you and your child, set a routine. Homework should be the same time every day, and it should be put in the schedule. Nothing else should interfere with that time, and once it's expected and a routine, it's a little easier.

2. Make A Homework Oasis. Create a space in your home that is comfortable, quiet and well stocked for doing homework. Everything needed should be in that one spot so that you don't have to be hunting down markers, rulers, paper or pencils. Have a comfortable desk or table to work at with a comfortable chair. My daughter always did better with soft music playing in the background, so if that's the case great - have something in that space ready to go for relaxing background music. Once everyone is seated for homework, everything should be right there so there are no excuses to get up and break the momentum. This space should also be free of distractions - no tv, no phone, and somewhere away from the main traffic of the home.

3. Give Your Child Complete Control. Be close at hand for questions and if help is needed, but let your child be in control of their own homework time. Let them decide the order homework is done in, and only come around if they need you. A little trick I did with my daughter when she was in grade school: She always asked me for help. I think this was partly because it was just easier to ask for help instead of doing it herself. Whenever she asked me to come help I would always respond "Let me finish up what I'm doing and I'll be there in one minute". Almost every stinking time I got there she had already figured it out. Be there to help, but not too readily.

4. Set An Example. Work at the same time your kids are doing homework. Sit down and do any computer or paperwork you have to get done, balance your accounts, or do some studying yourself. If you are sitting down to get some work done as well, they won't feel quite so deprived of their time - and heck, think of all the things you can get done as well, when you have a designated time to work on them! It's a win, win.

5. Make Sure To Give A Lot of Praise. Post hard earned papers and grades in a very visible place for all to see. When they do well make sure they know you are proud of how hard they are working and how good of a job they are doing. We always had the CHENEY BRAG CENTER in our house where we could post all of our kids accomplishments. Don't ever underestimate the importance of praise.

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