Ways to Take the Stress Out of Homework
Homework can be a source of stress for both children and parents. As children progress through primary school and approach high school, the amount of homework increases, and it becomes harder to keep up with teacher expectations and the curriculum.
Anxiety can quickly ripple through the home as children resist what can feel like a daily chore, while parents start to question, can this be avoided?
One certainty is that homework will continue to be a common part of the school experience, with some teachers focusing on building effective work habits and others emphasising mastery of the content covered in class.
As parents attempt to juggle a range of tactics in the hope of keeping on top of teacher expectations and the curriculum, we’re here to lend some guidance! Here are our strategies designed for parents to help take the stress out of schoolwork.
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Before we dive into strategies, it's essential to understand what school anxiety looks like in children. Anxiety can manifest differently in each child, but common signs include:
- Physical Symptoms: Stomachaches, headaches, nausea, and other physical complaints.
- Behavioural Changes: Regression in behaviour, mood swings, withdrawal from social activities, or excessive clinginess.
- Academic Challenges: Declining grades, procrastination, and avoidance of homework or school-related tasks.
- Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, or night sweats.
- Avoidance Behaviours: Resistance to attending school, frequent requests to stay home, or seeking constant reassurance.
Now that we've identified the signs of school anxiety, let's discuss some effective ways parents can help their child cope with and conquer these anxieties.
Keep Track of Your Child's Progress
It's crucial to stay informed about your child's progress at school. Make sure they are not falling behind in any subject. One effective way to do this is by regularly communicating with their teacher. When a child is struggling with new concepts and skills at school, it gets even harder when the work comes home. If you’re concerned, talk to your child’s teacher about how things are going in the classroom.
Set Up a Designated Homework Station
Create a dedicated space in your home for homework. It should be quiet, well-lit, and equipped with necessary supplies, away from distractions like the TV. A proper workspace can help your child stay focused and organised.
Offer Brain-Friendly Snacks
Before your child starts their homework, provide brain-friendly snacks to boost their energy and concentration. Water, Greek yogurt, vegetables with hummus, seeds and nuts, fruit, and cheese are all ideal options. Aim for an even balance of protein, carbs, and fat to keep them fueled and ready to learn.
Break the Workload into Small Chunks
Sometimes, homework can seem overwhelming due to a long list of tasks. To make it less daunting, help your child break down the work into a tick-box list. Encourage them to tackle one task at a time, starting with the most urgent ones. This approach not only makes the work more manageable but also provides a sense of accomplishment as completed tasks are checked off the list.
Avoid Doing the Work for Your Child
While it can be tempting to step in and help, avoid doing the work for your child. Children can lose confidence in their abilities if their parents take over, and it's their work that the teacher is marking.
Instead, stay nearby to offer assistance when needed, but emphasise that it's their responsibility to complete the assignments. This approach encourages independence and problem-solving skills.
Offer Performance-Based Rewards
Consider offering rewards or treats to motivate your child to complete their homework. If they successfully finish their assigned tasks for the week, provide them with a choice of activities as a reward. This positive reinforcement can encourage consistent effort.
Keep Communication with Teachers Open and Frequent
Active involvement in your child's school community can boost their motivation and performance. Attend parent-teacher interviews and maintain an open dialogue with teachers. By staying informed about your child's progress, you can address any issues promptly and ensure they receive the support they need.
Role-Model Organisation and Work Habits
Demonstrate the importance of planning and organisation by allocating a specific time each day for homework. Minimise distractions around the house during this time to help your child stay focused. In doing so, you teach them valuable life skills that will support their education and future success.
Homework is an essential part of the school experience, but it doesn't have to be stressful. By following these strategies, parents can help their children take the stress out of homework and develop the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.
If you're concerned about your child's academic progress or wish to support their learning and study habits, don't hesitate to engage with your child's school and teachers. Together, you can create a supportive and stress-free environment for your child's educational journey.
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Our individualised tutoring approach can help develop children's skills and abilities. To learn more about our programmes and how we can support your child's academic needs, reach out to us by contacting your local centre or booking a free assessment today.