3 ways to help your child balance homework and free time
The afternoon of the first day of school can be a slippery slope for children if they’re not careful. Children may get caught in the difference between holiday free time and after school free time. It is in this after school time that the balance of homework and extra-curricular activities need to be established in order to instil self-responsibility of your child’s education. Follow these helpful hints and tricks to making homework a consistent and concentrated process in your household.
1. Create a study space
Children are accustomed to studying in a space where there is proper seating, equipment and desk space to concentrate on work. They are in such a space in their school classes from Monday to Friday. Replicating a similar space at home would be beneficial in establishing a learning environment. Have a space with an adequate sized desk, pens and paper, a laptop (or tablet) and proper lighting (both natural and desk lamp). An environment like this shows your child what is expected from their home learning by being in the same structure to the way they concentrate and learn at school.
Alternatively, if your child is more comfortable studying in a different environment, discuss with them ideas for a learning space that would get the most out of their dedicated homework time. Maybe a space with bean bags and floor room is more productive than a desk. Understand how your child learns, discuss what they think would work and let them personalise and adjust to the space to really make it their own.
2. Time to learn
Procrastination is a child’s enemy when homework needs completing. One more TV show, one more sandwich or five more minutes of rest can be the difference between controlled learning and a rush to meet deadlines. Counter this problem with consistency. Establish with your child an agreed upon time and duration to learn and stick to it. The harder this time frame of learning is enforced at the beginning of the school year, the more autonomous your child will be in actively setting a time for study.
Children study best when they’re not rushed by lateness or lack of knowledge. The more your child rushes their homework, the less impactful the content learned will be. One step you can take to avoid this homework blunder is to have constant touchpoints reminding what is and isn’t due. This can be done by setting up calendars and magnet boards relaying due dates of assignments, homework and exams from your schools educational outline. For further reinforcement, put reminder alarms in your child’s smart phones, tablets and laptops a week prior to the due dates of all their work. Having constant reminders of what’s to come ensures your child always has the proper time to plan out their study and learn with focus and quality.
Children will grow up and begin working in jobs and living lives that will need responsibility and self-directed hard work. Encouraging children to take ownership of their study responsibilities outside school plays a vital role establishing a self-directed work ethic, which will be valuable beyond their time in school.