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8 Aug 2011

A homework routine helps get the job done

Establishing a routine for your kids' homework is the best way to ensure it gets doneCredit:, samlevan
Do your school-aged kids balk at getting their homework done? Establishing a daily routine with kids is a good idea in general, and dealing with homework assignments is no exception. Consider these tips and determine what works best for your household situation, then be consistent in applying them.

Timing is everything
Your child may have more homework on some days than others, but try to set aside a specific amount of time each evening for school assignments. You can discuss with his or her teacher what might be the appropriate amount of time for that grade level, or take note of how much time your child normally needs to finish, and adjust accordingly. Tell Billy that just like dad goes to work during specific hours, his job from 6:00-7:30 is homework. If he finishes before the end of his workday, he can read a book or play an educational game. I think it's important to keep a child focused on something related to school during the allotted time period; otherwise, he might rush through homework just so that he can move on to more fun activities.
Honey, I'm home!
When your child first gets home from school, ask about his or her day before diving into homework. If Susie was hurt when a friend called her a name, discuss the situation and help her put it to rest, and help set the tone for the remainder of the evening. Most adults don't work well when something is bothering them, so don't expect any different from your child. Let your son or daughter know that you're interested in their daily activities, just like you would do for your spouse or partner.
Lay it all out
While talking about the day's events, start emptying backpacks and going over what homework assignments are due. Determine how much of the work your child can do on his or her own, and what they might need your help with. If you're normally getting supper ready at homework time, have Joey start with the easier assignments so that you can be available to help later when needed. If you're available now, help him get the more difficult assignments out of the way and let him work on his own later while you're busy.
Break it up
For kids, doing homework is like a job, no different than the work mom or dad does. Adults can't work for a long stretch without taking a break, so make sure to work in a short recess between homework assignments so your son or daughter doesn't get burned out. Set a timer when they first sit down to work, then have Kendra take the dog for a walk or toss a ball in the back yard for a few minutes to get the blood pumping after sitting. Have a healthy snack ready for her when it's time to get back down to business.
Consistent, yet flexible
Most kids work better with a routine, when they know what to expect from day to day, but that doesn't mean you can't be somewhat flexible. Establish a routine that works best for your family based on things that seldom change, but allow a little leeway when warranted for when life throws a kink in the works. Learning how to be adaptable is a lesson too.
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