Creative Child

5 Tips to End Homework Hassles

by Rebecca Eanes

In a perfect world (my perfect world at least) there would be zero homework, especially for elementary students! It’s kind of pointless anyway, but most of us have to deal with it, regardless. Homework in our house has been a special kind of hassle because before this year, we homeschooled for three and a half years. They got used to having free afternoons and evenings, so figuring out a homework routine that works for us has been a challenge. Here are my tips to make the homework hour (or three hours) less annoying and maybe even a tiny bit fun.

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1. Make it connection hour.

This is best suited for upper elementary and beyond – students who can sit and concentrate and appreciate the down time. Try this: Rather than fussing at them to get it done while you scurry around preparing dinner, change up the routine a bit. Schedule homework time during an hour you can be present at least part of the time. Turn on soft classical music, bake some fresh cookies, and make the atmosphere as relaxing and calm as possible. Calm brains learn better and work faster. You don’t have to sit with your child the entire time to make connection happen, but checking in with a kind gesture, a warm smile, and a glass of milk to go with those cookies will make the hour much more pleasant.

2. For young or active kids, let them move!

Get an exercise ball for them to sit on instead of a chair. Let them recite their spelling words while jumping rope. Pass a ball back and forth as you drill math facts or ask test questions. This is especially helpful for hyperactive or ADHD kids.

3. Make it fun.

Allow them to read their assignment in a blanket and pillow fort, or snuggled up in bed with you. Make math more fun with snap cubes or pom poms for counting. Practice letters or spelling words in a pan of shaving cream instead of with pencil and paper. There are lots of creative ways to make homework fun. See what you can come up with!

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4. Set up a study space and allow them to help design it.

Some kids like doing their homework at the kitchen table while others might prefer to go to their rooms. It doesn’t really matter where they go to do it; what’s important is that it’s a happy space. Make sure the area is comfortable, there’s enough light, and pencils, sharpeners, and erasers, etc. are stocked and handy. Being well prepared in a good environment is half the homework battle!

5. Take mini-breaks.

Some kids want to push through and get it over with, but others lose focus after short bursts of time. For those kids, set a timer to work 10 or 15 minutes straight, then give them a 3 minute break to stretch, do jumping jacks, or get a drink. Then set the timer again. Breaking homework up into short, bite-sized increments makes it feel less overwhelming and helps your kid stay on task. For more ideas, check out this article on brain breaks and focused-attention practices from Edutopia.

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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