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Home / Parenting

Eight ways to end the homework battle in your house

 Creating a distraction-free learning space is a great start

Nothing strikes fear in a parent quite like homework. Okay, maybe the words 'I have food tech tomorrow but only just remembered I need ingredients' are up there, but homework is a headache you have some control over.

We're not saying parents should be militant about homework, but with a few tips and tricks in place, homework can become less of a chore.

Fiona Goddard, Senior Education Consultant at Maths-Whizz, said: "Give your child ownership of their learning. A few minutes of your time with them to agree routines, establish expectations and reward their effort and perseverance, are crucial steps to taking the daily battle out of getting homework completed.

"Always remain positive, talk through any obstacles together and remember give yourself grace, you can't nail it all of the time."

With that in mind, here is our guide to making homework less stressful for kids (and parents.)

  • Create a weekly schedule

Just like everything else, homework is made easier with routine. Setting a specific time to work will not only prepare your child for the task but also show that it's not an endless mission.

Depending on age (longer for older kids, shorter for younger), aim for a 40 minute slot with a ten minute break in the middle.

You know your child better than most so you will know a time when they will be able to focus. Maybe they need to get stuck in to homework straight after school, maybe they need to eat first - play around with times until you find the right one for them and then stick to it each day.

 Simple tips and tricks like visual prompts and planners can make homework an easy task
  • Keep the focus

Ever heard of the old saying "tidy desk, tidy mind"? Even if you haven't mastered it for yourself (we're still working on ours) it's important that your child has a clear table with minimal distractions.

Ensure their work bench, whether it's their own desk or the dining room table, is free from screens (apart from the one they are working on) and that they have everything they need in one place so they're not eating into their homework time looking for a ruler.

Some parents even put together homework packs for different subjects with all the stationary they are likely to need in a labelled ziplock bag. It's a good excuse to go shopping for some new pens and pencils - definitely a guilty pleasure of ours.

  • Use prompts

Some learners are more receptive to visual aids than others but there will always be something that just "clicks".

For younger pupils, visual prompts like a times table grid or flower are great things to have to hand when they're still getting to grips with the basics.

For older students, sticky notes with key points (colour-coded if you're feeling extra fancy) are a brilliant way for them to remember core information that they can use time and time again.

  • Don't use negatives (unless it's the maths kind)

We often show a lot of sympathy for our kids, especially if they're having a hard time with something we struggled with at their age but try not to fall into the trap of saying things like "I can't do maths either" or "I hated fractions in school".

Negative thoughts can quickly affect your child's attitude. Being confident in a subject is half the battle, so ensuring you remain upbeat, even when things get tricky, is key.

 A Waldorf multiplication flower - the outer petals are the result of the inner petals and the centre multiplied
  • Reward good effort

On the flipside to the negatives, be sure to reward the positives. You know what motivates your child and so choosing some kind of reward scheme between you will ensure you have something that will keep your learner going through the trickiest of tasks.

If your child likes visual reminders of their achievements why not try a sticker chart that leads to a bigger reward after a certain number of days or weeks.

Remember, learning isn’t about being the brightest or best, but the most consistent.

  • Try a tutor

We're not all teachers, and even if we know our fractions and our trigonometry it can be hard to impart that information in a way that our kids will understand.

Teaching isn't easy! If you're finding homework a daily struggle why not give a tutor a try?

While there are many real-life tutors available, in these socially-distant times virtual tutors have really come into their own.

  • And don't forget... the struggle is real (and it's okay!)

A friendly reminder that homework can be a struggle not just for our child but for us too - and there is nothing wrong with that.

We can get stuck and it can be very frustrating but it's how we get un-stuck that matters. Often, our biggest learning gains come from a mistake or having finally found a solution to a very tricky problem.

Keep calm and positive, you're both doing great.

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