Helping your child with homework

10 Ways To Help Your Child With Homework

How can you support the kids with school work and projects – without writing the essays yourself?

As a parent you’ll want your children to do the best they can at school, but doing their homework for them is not going to help in the long run. Instead, offer the right support when it’s needed.

When you’re getting started, for instance, try doing one problem together and let your child do the rest on their own. This helps them learn and problem solve.

To let them know you’re there to help, show an interest and be available, and be sensitive to your child’s individual needs. Some children learn better by looking at things (images, websites, books) and others by talking about a subject.

You can also suggest tips for remembering facts, like lists, flash cards or saying them out loud. Listing facts or spellings out loud is a great technique if they like to do some of their homework with a friend.

10 homework tips to develop long-lasting skills

1. Stick with a schedule
Set specific times for homework – whether after school or after dinner – and don’t make your child work longer than these sessions. Set times that are free from television viewing, games, texting etc (even if your child insists they are capable of multitasking).

2. Pick a location
This can be at a desk in their room, in the dining room or at the kitchen table, with brothers and sisters or alone. Choose any space in your home which you think provides the fewest distractions and suits your child’s best studying habits.

3. Help them find the answer
The process of having to seek out a fact often helps a person retain that knowledge for another time. Show your child where they can find the right information – using the best possible search words online, where you keep reference books, how to use an index, etc – then leave them to it. Come back every now and again to see how they’re getting on.

4. Review work
Follow up to see how your child scored on a homework assignment and go over mistakes together. These are golden opportunities for discussion to see if they understand the subject – but not to tell your child off for getting something wrong!

5. Meet with teachers
Parent involvement shows teachers there’s a supportive environment at home. If your child lags behind, just ask. Teachers will usually have suggestions for books or websites that can boost understanding of the work they’re doing in class.


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6. Ask when you don’t know the answer
Your child’s homework is also an opportunity for you to learn. Do some research so you can show your child where they can go to get the answers they need.

7. Make a plan
As your child gets older, their workload increases and there are bigger school projects to complete in addition to the daily or weekly homework tasks. You can help by offering your time-management skills so they pace their work – not leaving it all until the last minute and building in time for research and to get any materials they might need.

8. Offer incentives
You don’t have to buy your kids gifts or treats – if they receive good scores and maintain grade averages, give them certain privileges like more nights out with friends in the holidays or at weekends.

9. Set an example
Discuss ideas. Go to a science museum together. Play word and maths games. Your actions speak volumes when advice may be ignored, so show that you like to read books, too!

10. Offer praise
Celebrate a high grade or a great art or science project, but also highlight positives when there are disappointments. Encourage your kids. If you show you believe in them, their confidence will fly.

Keep your eye on the future

It’s good for you to have a plan of what options could be open to your child in the years ahead. Read our tips for How to map your child’s goals at school.

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