When the new year comes around, we make resolutions like they’re going out of fashion. Whether we follow them is another thing, but the sentiment remains - we want to start over on the right footing.
When the kids go back to school, however, they rarely make such resolutions. It’s a shame because it is a new year of sorts - a new school year. And, resolutions may be exactly what they need to start off with the right attitude. You never know; starting off right could see them succeed for the rest of the year.
Of course, the options for school resolutions are limited. There is, however, one clear area where most children could stand to improve. Why not make this year the year they finally tackle their homework? You may roll your eyes, but it’s an issue worth addressing when first starting out. Helping them get into the right routine this early in the year will ensure that no backlog ensues. No backlog = less stress for both of you.
Homework in recent years seems to have increased, and many parents feel that the load is now too much. But, whatever your personal opinions, your child needs to do the work set for them. Otherwise, their grades will suffer.
Obviously, this resolution isn’t yours. As such, it’s important that you don’t take over the process. It’s down to your child whether they even set a resolution at all. If you set it for them, the sentiment will be lost. You’d have to breathe down their necks to ensure they follow through, and their attitude won’t change.
Instead, you need to let them develop their resolutions alone. Depending on how old they are, you may need to provide a few suggestions. But, your input should stop there. If you’re struggling for ideas, some good suggestions would be:
- Doing homework as soon as they get home
- Developing a homework chart to help them keep track
- Working for at least an hour each evening
As you can see, these aren’t complex points. Yet, they could make a huge difference to your little one’s productivity. Planning, after all, makes us all more efficient.
Once their resolutions are in place, it’s down to them whether they follow them or not. While you don’t want to push them in a direction they’re unwilling to go, there are a few ways to help them succeed. Here are some worth considering.
Help them plan their homework schedule
If your child vows to develop a new schedule, it may be worth helping them plan it. Subtly, this ensures they follow through. It also allows you to guide them towards a plan which would work.
You could use a modern method of a pen and paper chart, with an hour carved out of each evening. Or, you could appeal to your child by developing a schedule on the computer.
Bear in mind that out of sight is out of mind, so if you do this, it’s worth printing a copy and placing it somewhere visible.
The actual substance of the plan will vary from child to child, but they may need your guidance. Times don’t have to be exactly the same each day if that isn’t practical. Together, you should sit down and work out what free time is available, then space homework out during those hours. If possible, getting the work done before they unwind for the day is always worthwhile. Bear in mind, too, that free periods during school could count towards their goal. And, whatever you do, make sure your child gets the ultimate say. This is, after all, a schedule they need to follow.
Prepare a homework space
Often, we trust our children to do their homework in their rooms. Either that, or we make them sit at the table. Both of these plans are flawed. Working in their room isn’t good for a variety of reasons. For the most part, that's because their brain will associate the space with sleep. There’s small chance of being as productive as possible there. Sitting at the table is also bad because it’s boring. It’ll be so much like school that your kids will lose interest and stop making an effort.
This year, why not consider making a homework space which works for them? You want this in an area of the house which is free of distractions. A corner of the study, for example, or at the end of the kitchen. You could even make use of a laundry room if you have one. Then, consider how to make it a space your children want to work in. Avoid the chair and table setup which would remind them of school. Instead, you could try to find a bean bag chair or something equally comfortable. While comfort and good work don’t always go hand in hand, this is an excellent compromise to get them using the space. Think, too, about how you want to decorate. Painting the walls with chalkboard paint, for example, could be an amazing way to get them working, and having fun.
Make time to help
We may have spoken about the importance of letting this be your child’s resolution, but it’s worth making a resolution of your own. Setting aside free time for yourself during at least half an hour of their homework hour will ensure you can help if they need you. How many times did your kids have to put their homework off which they waited for you last year? Don’t let it happen again by freeing yourself up if they need you.
Though, bear in mind that you shouldn’t crowd them during this time if they’re doing well. Let them know that they can come to you, and then treat this as a chance to relax. It’s the best of both worlds for everyone. Your kids won’t have to wait for you, and you get a moment to unwind. Even better, the house will be quiet because they’re busy working!
What's your homework routine like at home?