Back-to-School: Creating a Positive Homework Environment

It’s that time of year again. Children are back to school and inevitably the piles of homework will soon start coming in. Some children are able to tackle their school work at home with little or no direction, while others need a little bit more encouragement and the right home environment. Heck, some naughty children even buy college research papers online, but that’s not something we’re going to chat about in this post 🙂

Here are a few tips to help you create a positive homework environment in your home:

1. Choose the right time – Scheduling conflicts aside, most children need some down time after school before they are ready to sit down and focus on school work again. Allowing children 30 to 45 minutes of indoor or outdoor play time (not tv time) is great way to let them unwind.

Keep a consistent after-school schedule that will let your child know your expectations of what will happen once they get home. Consistency is key. For example:

3:30pm – 4:15pm Playtime
4:15pm – 5:00pm Homework
5:00pm – 5:30pm Silent/Shared Reading time/Chores/ etc
5:30pm – 6:00pm Dinner
6:00pm – 7:00pm Free time/TV/family time/etc
7:00pm – Bath time/Getting ready for bed
8:00pm – Bed time/Lights out

2. Fuel up – Provide healthy, nutritious snacks to keep your children energized, alert, and focused (eg.  fruit slices, cheese, or veggies + dip.) These can be enjoyed before or during homework time.

3. Create the space – Designate a specific, well-lit homework area in your home that is set up with all the supplies your children will need to get their work done (paper, pencils, pens, ruler, eraser, glue, dictionary, etc). What you want to avoid is your children getting distracted from their work because they don’t have the supplies they need to get their work done.

4. Chunk the work – Few children can sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time (depending on their age), thus it is wise to chunk homework time into short sessions, no more than 15 to 20 minutes in length. Allow your child to take a washroom or a water break in between.

5. Keep them motivated – Set up a goal or a reward that will take place at the end of the homework period.

6. Enjoy the process! – Remember the goal of homework is to help your children practice or extend the learning of skills acquired in the classroom (not torture parents!). Keep positive and if you have questions, ask your child’s teacher for direction.

By, Silvana Felix is an on call booking agent with Nannies on Call.