Children do well when they have a designated spot for doing homework. The area should convey that completing assignments is important. It has everything they have nearby. It is comfortable and quiet. If your child struggles with silence, music from a radio or MP3 player is helpful. I don’t recommend television as it can become a distraction.
Elementary Aged Children
It doesn’t take much to provide a space for younger children. A seat at the kitchen or dining room table is plenty. You will want to keep extra paper, pencils, and colored pencils nearby. It also gives you the opportunity to check-in once in a while. Kids like to chat but make sure they are chatting about the assignment. If they are in the kitchen, they can read to you while you put dinner dishes away. Be careful about chastising your child when they struggle. I know it can be frustrating but praising them is far better than being negative.
Once kids reach middle or high school, the kitchen table may not be enough. If space allows, a desk in their room is perfect. You will want to check on them often to keep them focused. They will need a computer and quiet to focus on research and online assignments. If you can provide them their own computer, that is great. If not, consider setting up a desk with the family computer. It can be in a spare room or in the living room. If you have more than one child who needs the computer, you will need to set up some time frames for them. Stick to the time frames but make extra time available. Sometimes a project or assignments take longer than expected.
Time Is Important
Speaking of time, the time they do the homework is important. A lot will depend on your evening schedule. Practices and games can upset the routine and you need to be flexible. A friend always had to do her homework when she got home from school. I didn’t follow that method; I allowed my son to wait until after dinner. Take note from your child. If they are hungry and energized, you will want to give them a snack and some time to relax. Other children will prefer to do homework right away so they can watch a show on television. Some children will float back and forth, depending on their own assignments. School is a rigid schedule, allowing them some sense of control over homework will help them do well. Let’s be honest, after a full day of work, you don’t want to come home and work on a 500-word book report. Your kids feel the same way sometimes.
Aside from these simple tasks, make homework-time fun. Allow them to have fun folders of their favorite superhero. Cool crayons, markers, or colorful pens will help them enjoy homework. As long as it’s in line with teacher requirements, having fun will keep motivation up.