Whether your child needs to practice their weekly spellings or start a bigger project, finding the time to sit down and help them with their homework in the evenings can be tough. After a busy day, the last thing you want is to deal with tantrums over maths equations – we’ve all been there.
As your child gets older, their pile of work will only grow. It’s good to get into a homework routine early on to avoid late hand-ins. Find out how to manage your child’s homework schedule and this dreaded task will become (dare we say) easy!
Benefits of a homework routine
Sometimes, your child may return home from school with a piece of homework that sits forgotten about on the kitchen table until the night before the due date. When it’s discovered amongst the paperwork, you both scramble to get it completed. All of this stress could be avoided with a homework schedule!
Some of the benefits of creating a routine are:
- Kids love routine, so they will feel more stable and secure
- Your children will develop organisational skills as they learn to prioritise their homework tasks
- Time management is a big one! This will relieve the stress associated with rushing through their homework
- It prepares your child for adulthood. A schedule will encourage them to be independent and take responsibility
How to make a homework schedule
Now that you know about the benefits, we’ll take you through how to create a homework schedule.
Get your kids input
Sit down with your child and ask them about when they want to do their homework. You’ll probably be met with ‘never’ at first, but kids actually like to be involved in decisions. This can act as their first step to becoming independent and by gaining this control, your child is likely to become motivated to do their homework.
By simply talking to your child, you may uncover the reasons why they put off doing their homework or rush it. They may be more interested in watching their favourite TV program at 5 o’clock (which is fair enough, they are still kids at the end of the day!) Gaining this insight is a great starting point to building a homework schedule to suit your kids. It is their homework after all!
Set a time frame
You thought it would only take half an hour for your child to learn their spellings, but it’s an hour later and you’re still sitting around the kitchen table testing them. Set a time frame for each task and if it’s still not complete, just go back to it another day. Homework can be draining and it may be taking longer than usual because your child is simply too tired. There’s no point trying to battle on as they are unlikely to absorb the new information anyway.
On the flip side, a time frame could make your child more productive as they have clear expectations. Have a chat with your kids’ teacher to see how much time they expect each piece of homework to take – it can be reassuring as your child is probably still on track.
Schedule in free time
As you make a homework schedule, don’t forget that your child has already had a long six-hour day at school – plus any after-school activities. Allow your child some time to unwind when they get home; offer them a snack and let them do an activity of their choice for an hour or so before they crack on with their homework.
Find the perfect location
Everyone works differently. Some people need background noise for their ideas to flow whereas others need complete silence to focus. Find out if your child works better surrounded by the buzz of the busy kitchen or at their own desk in their room.
Wherever you decide, it’s still important to supervise your child in case they need help. Make sure that they have all the equipment they need to avoid distractions. Kids love to procrastinate, and going off to sharpen their pencils is a great excuse for them to delay their homework. And finally, don’t forget to move all electronics out of sight!
How to maintain a homework schedule
So, you’ve set up the perfect homework routine, congratulations! Now you need to make sure that you and your child can keep up this hard work and don’t slip back into old habits.
It’s a good idea to set out the rules of the schedule on a homework routine chart. You can stick this to your fridge for the whole family to see. This visual aid will make it a lot easier to stay on track and it should include homework start and end times, break times, and the location. You also need to make clear with your child that you are on hand to support them, but you’re not doing their homework for them. Setting these rules should help you to swerve any arguments.
Offer praise and encouragement
A big motivating factor for kids is rewards and recognition. Praise your child when they complete their homework on time or manage to remain focused. This is an important step as it will lift your child’s mood and they will begin to think about homework positively. Over time, they may even look forward to doing their homework as they know they will receive a reward at the end (you never know!)
Creating a homework schedule is handy but don’t put yourself down if you struggle to maintain the routine. Your kids’ homework is just one of the many things parents have to juggle these days, and you may find that the schedule needs adjusting over time. Just know that you’re not alone in the weekly battle of making sure your kids complete their homework!
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