All parents want their children to be successful and getting good grades can be a crucial first step towards that success. How can you help your child succeed in a world where teachers assign more homework than ever? Luckily, there are many things you can do as a parent and none of them require you doing homework for your child.
Here are some pain-free ways that parents can help kids with their homework:
Create a dedicated homework space
One way you can help your child’s grades without doing their homework for them is by helping them focus on their schoolwork when they’re at home.
Children are faced with countless distractions these days. We are all more stimulated than ever before and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. From smartphones to tablets to video games and the Internet, your child has countless ways to occupy their mind and stay distracted from doing homework.
As a parent, you can help you child refocus on schoolwork by creating a dedicated homework time each night. Ideally, this homework time would occur before your child is allowed to start playing video games, surfing the Internet or watching television.
To boost the effectiveness of this dedicated homework time, you could also create a safe, distraction-free space for your child to complete their homework. This could be a spare bedroom with a computer desk or it could be a part of the house where televisions, computers, and cell phones are off limits. If you’re short on space, consider a corner desk or ladder desk. As long as you have a free corner of the room, you can squeeze in a small desk for your child to sit and do homework or study while you keep watch.
While technology can sometimes be a distraction for children who have homework, in certain instances, it can also be beneficial. Educational technology and e-learning, or the act of using the Internet as a teaching tool, are gaining popularity.
To be certain your child is using technology for learning and not just pretending to do homework while surfing YouTube, you could create a dedicated (and restricted) homework device, like an old smartphone or a refurbished laptop.
A quick Google search will provide many websites and companies, such as iD Tech, which specialize in online learning for kids. Meanwhile, if you child loves smartphones or video games, you might install the iPhone app Math vs Zombies, a zombie-themed game that entertains your child while teaching basic mathematics skills. Although the game is geared toward kindergartners through fifth-graders, it’s still fun and educational for older children and even adults.
If you feel your children spend too much time on their electronics, it might be time for them to head outside and enjoy being children. Outdoor activities can be the base for a lot of fun-filled learning (Check out this infographic). Just because they’re outside playing doesn’t mean learning has to stop. In fact, in many cases, playtime boosts learning opportunities.
Earth Science Jr. provides some great ideas for combining outdoor playtime with fun, educational activities that teach your children about science. You never know; you might be raising the world’s next great scientist and what better way to encourage those interests than by helping your child build their very own greenhouse or search for fossils in their own backyard?
Give them voice and choice
If you’ve tried everything on this list and are still struggling to find ways to encourage your children to do their homework each night, it might be time to try something new. As controversial as it might sound, some parents are starting to give their children more say in the rules and requirements for homework time.
When children have input into what their nightly routines, rules and restrictions are, they feel more empowered and, the thought process goes, more likely to follow the rules you’ve created together.
Yes, believe it or not, there’s even an app for that. Our Pact is one of many smartphone apps on the market that help parents and children set limits for screen time and dedicated hours for homework, chores, family time and more.
All in all
With some creative thinking and perhaps even a little help from technology, your family can determine a homework routine that works for everyone.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.