Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., a child psychologist who works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute (and a mother of 2 girls) wrote for “Rise and Shine” that now that school is back in full swing, many households are dealing with how to handle homework. Helping your child be successful at homework is very important because it is a very critical part of children’s academic success.
Homework helps children in several ways, including:
- Continues learning after the school day
- Teaches responsibility
- It helps parents stay aware of what their child is learning in school
Being involved in your child’s homework is important. As with all parenting endeavors, though, there is a fine line between being too involved and not being involved enough.
So, what’s a parent to do?
Step 1: Set expectations
Set up appropriate expectations for your child and their homework responsibilities. For example, depending on the age of your child, they might be responsible for determining which homework needs to be done, doing the actual homework, and putting their completed homework into their backpack.
It is very important that the child take responsibility for the actual homework, not the parent. A parent might commit to finding a quiet space for the child to do the homework, checking answers, double-checking that everything has been done, as well as being on hand to answer questions.
Step 2: Set up a good study space
There must be a designated homework space in the house free of noises and distractions. If possible, try to make this fun. For instance, a colleague of mine mentioned she got her kindergarten-aged son a “homework box” that has everything he needs including pencils, erasers, scissors, etc. He puts his homework folder by the box when he comes home and then has everything he needs. I think this is a great idea to help with organization for any age.