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How to Support Your Child With Homework: Effective Homework Strategies

By September 3, 2013November 19th, 2020Blogs, Dr. Jenny Yip

As the new school year approaches, students and parents may feel a variety of conflicting emotions. Some may welcome the consistent and predictable schedules involving homework and sports yet they may also feel anxious about the intense workload and pressure of academic performance. The key to unlocking your child’s success with homework is somewhat simple: Know your child. Does he study best after time burning off some energy? If so, he may benefit from starting their homework after a 30-45 minute break after school. Does your child crash or burnout around the 6pm hour? If this is the case, start homework immediately after school and schedule a few 10-15 minute breaks between subjects.
Below are 4 Helpful Steps to Promote Homework Success:

1. Select a main work area free from external noise such as television or rambunctious young children. Make sure the main work area is organized and stocked with the essentials: lined paper, pencils, erasers, a few different colored highlighters, a calculator, etc. Some students tend to focus better with mellow music or white noise in the background. It is best to avoid music with lyrics, as oftentimes students will be distracted singing to songs they know. Try this and see if it is helpful for your child.
2. Help your child break homework assignments into manageable chunks of time and schedule in breaks. Some benefit from a time log broken down into 15 minutes time slots. This allows the child to foresee what is coming next, how much they have completed, and when a break is coming up. In my experience, 30 minutes of focus time per 15-minute break is most effective. I have had the most success with Audible 8-inch Time Timer. This product instantly shows children the time remaining for a task.
3. Implement an incentive system. What child doesn’t want “free stuff” if they can complete their homework? Incentives almost always work. Set an attainable goal (only focus on one or two at a time) and a mutually agreedupon and reasonable reward. Create a chart with the goal(s) and identify the days of the week the child must attempt the goal. An example may be “If you can remember to write down your homework assignments from the board 4 out 5 days, you can get a frozen yogurt day on Friday or 30 minutes extra tv time.” Remember, incentives only work when the child is involved in choosing the reward. Once she has shown mastery on that skill, increase the goal to 5 out of 5 days or introduce a new one.
4. Set realistic expectations – Remember, adults aren’t great at everything so you can’t expect
your child to thrive in all areas as well. Help them understand the importance of the
homework, apply it to real life situations and offer support and guidance.

Ashley Ravid, MA, ET/P is a Professional Educational Therapist specializing in working with students with learning differences. She currently has a private practice in Sherman Oaks, CA.