With the official kickoff of the school year, it’s the perfect time to prepare for the daily ritual of homework. Why? Establishing a regular routine is essential to developing good study habits that are sure to help your child enjoy learning and breeze through his or her assignments.
Here are a few practical tips to apply the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines to help maximize your child’s learning throughout the year.
1. Establish a space for homework
A workspace in the home that offers privacy is ideal, whether it’s your child’s bedroom, a quiet corner of the kitchen, or other part of the home. A dedicated space is ideal, but when it’s not an option, consider establishing a quiet time for the entire house, a sort of “virtual space” that is free of distractions that can disrupt homework time.
2. Set aside plenty of time for homework
Nothing saps effective learning like stress. By scheduling enough time to complete homework assignments without undue stress, you’ll create a relaxed, calm environment that’s likely to promote better learning.
3. Establish a “house rule” to turn the TV off during homework time
This is especially true when your child’s homework space is within earshot of a noisy and distracting TV program. The bonus is scheduled quiet time for you.
4. Consider a tutor for tough subjects
If your child is having a challenge with a particular subject, consider enlisting the services of a tutor. A tutor may offer a fresh approach to learning that can help your child more easily understand a difficult subject. Talk to your child’s teacher for suggestions.
5. Encourage your child to take regular breaks
Regular breaks are especially important to prevent eye fatigue and neck strain, but closing the books for a few minutes and stretching also goes a long way to maintain focus and interest.
6. Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but avoid doing your child’s homework
This homework must-do is often easier said than done. After all, explaining a new math concept or grammar rule typically takes a bit more patience and time, but your extra effort will pay off with a more self-assured child who is more proficient in a particular subject.
7. Supervise computer and Internet use
This high-tech tool offers ready access to numerous resources for school projects, from point-and-click textbooks and other materials posted by teachers to interactive team projects with classmates. Trouble is, it’s just as easy to navigate to the latest online game and other distractions. Keeping a watchful eye on computer time will help keep your child’s focus on homework projects and away from the latest online game.
Enjoy a great school year!
Kathleen & Lorna
Co-authors of Eating for A’s
Lorna Williams, MPH, RD, and Kathleen Dunn, MPH, RD, are registered dietitians who have been collaborating on health and nutrition projects for over 20 years. Together, they launched EatingFor.com, a fun and educational website focusing on child and teen nutrition, and co-authored Eating for A’s: A month-by-month nutrition and lifestyle guide to help raise smarter kids.