By Suzy Fielders

With the new year beginning, we thought it would be a good time to start fresh with the dreaded homework routine.  Homework time does not have to be something children and parents fear every night. These simple tips can help the whole family in getting homework done painlessly.

Ideally it is best to set aside time each day or week (time dependent on the grade level & amount of homework given) in a quiet setting. However, in most families now-a-days this is next to impossible to accomplish. So here are some ‘real world’ tips to accommodate for those with busy schedules.

• Make use of idle time. If your child is in after-school activities, then use that time before while waiting in the car or waiting room for simple homework tasks.

• Prioritize homework. This will help for those times when you and your family are crunched for time as it will show what actually can wait a day or two to be done.

• If possible avoid leaving homework for the morning. These time frames are always rushed while everyone is getting ready to leave and rushing through homework often results in errors and unnecessary stress.

• Be involved. Help your child with their homework and be interactive with what they are learning and accomplishing. If you have questions, then ask their teacher – trust me they will be happy to answer them and grateful to see parents involved in helping their children. Make sure to attend parent-teacher conferences when available or request them as this is a great time to get insight on the workload in the class.

• Get organized. Much time is wasted by not being organized and knowing where everything necessary for school and homework is. If necessary, use some kind of color-coordinating system for different subjects or siblings. Calendars are great organizing methods as well and can be a huge help for keeping track of schedules, especially for multiple siblings.

• Do not procrastinate! While prioritizing homework helps set and determine time constraints, it does not mean putting it all off until the last minute. For instance, if your child knows they have a project due in 2 weeks, help them get started on it immediately – then it will be more manageable time wise and can be done piece by piece. When possible get ahead. For instance, just because a child has out of school days does not mean they can’t at least accomplish a few tasks on an upcoming project or pre-assigned homework.

• Most importantly make sure to factor in down time for fun and relaxation. This will keep everyone in the family from getting overworked, overwhelmed and run down!

Teaching good learning tips and values such as the ones above to children, especially if taught early on, will help them succeed in future education levels. Young adults who are well versed in these homework guidelines are much more likely to be able to manage their time and studies. These traits will actually also provide a solid foundation for a constructive learning paradigm that in addition to aiding in the academic world will also assist a person well into adulthood and the business world. Please share what works for your family by commenting below.

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