10 habits for highly successful homework

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Denise Lenarz, MD

My daughter, Holly, loves school — even homework. My son, Hayden, loves school, but is not as fond of homework time. If you have a child who doesn’t like homework, try the tips we use at our house to make life easier for everyone.

  1. Stay calm. When your child refuses to do homework, just calmly say what the consequence will be such as no screen time.
  2. Be consistent. Maybe your child needs a break to play after school so homework time always is right after supper.
  3. Find a quiet spot. Avoid distractions such as the TV or younger siblings.
  4. Get it together. Have what you need for the assignment on hand before you start.
  5. Stay close. Sit with your child and do your “homework” — grocery list, bills, thank-you notes, etc. Basically, look busy so it doesn’t seem like you are hovering.
  6. Take a break. Depending on the age of your child, take a break after 5 or 10 minutes. Have your child do jumping jacks, wall pushups or run in place. Doing big movements will help them refocus on homework.
  7. Use a fidget. A stress ball or other fidget toy will help your child release excess energy.
  8. Brain food. A snack with protein, healthy fats or complex carbs will help support your child’s focus.
  9. Provide support. Don’t do your child’s homework, but be available when help is needed.
  10. Give praise. Stress that no one is perfect and your child is allowed to make mistakes. Celebrate achievements but also commend your child for making an effort.