Have you ever been surprised at a parent-teacher interview when they say your child isn’t getting their homework done? Or, you’ve watched your child sit unfocused while their homework goes untouched at the kitchen table? A homework routine may just be the solution for you!
Tips For Creating A Homework Routine For Your Child
A homework routine can help your child focus and get their work done. It also ensures you can fit everything else in the day (like all the fun extracurricular activities!) without having homework fall to the wayside. Truly, establishing a homework routine is the lifesaver between finding balance for your child and their after-school life.
Benefits of Having a Homework Routine
Everyone benefits from a homework routine. Kids who struggle to get homework completed will benefit. Students who love homework will love having it all organized. Parents will benefit from having a focused child!
For many kids, predictability is key to feeling comfortable and secure. Just like adults, having a routine to follow greatly increases this stability. With a homework routine, kids will always know when it’s time to get work done.
With clear expectations, they are less likely to find that loophole and get out of doing their homework. They know what’s required of them!
Kids who learn to always get their homework done establish a good work ethic. This will help them when it’s time to get that summer job or fly the nest and head off to college. Better organization and good study skills can help in all facets of life.
Most importantly, it prevents procrastination from happening. Something that truly haunts even the best of us!
How to Establish a Homework Routine
Now that you’re off and ready to get working on homework, it’s time to establish that homework routine. Here are the best tips for starting from scratch, homework enthusiast or not!
1) Discuss the homework routine with your kids
Since this is their life we’re talking about, you’re going to need their input! You can’t do it all for them. Even if you did, they would be much less likely to stick to the homework routine since it is not how or what they want. They will appreciate the fact that you listen to them and value their input.
When you first ask them when they want to do their homework, they’re probably going to give a snarky response of “Never!” You may need to dig a little deeper and navigate the conversation for them to truly figure out when the best time to do homework is.
Ask them what part of homework they struggle with. Do they need time to do it together? Do they need a break from school before they begin their homework? Figure out together how you can make this the best scenario possible for them.
Homework should NEVER be a punishment. Don’t schedule homework during parts of the day when they might want to do something else like hanging out with friends next door, watching their favorite TV show, or when they’re most tired.
Also take the time to remind them why doing homework is important. Having goals in mind can help kids feel like homework is getting them somewhere. What short and long-term goals do school and homework help you achieve? It can be long-term like getting into college or short-term like passing a history test.
2) Include more than just homework
When the only part of a scheduled routine is homework, it can feel like a bummer when you get to that part of the day. To avoid having homework be a downfall, try implementing a routine for the full day or after school.
Include everything from free time, dinner, bedtime, exercise, extracurricular activities, family time, and more. Figure out the order that works best for your family.
Some might want to do homework right after school so that everything else afterward feels like a reward. Others may need a mental break after just finishing school before jumping in.
3) Make a timeline
When making your homework routine, you’re going to need an estimate on how much time it should take to get the homework done. Realistically, every day will be a different amount of time. It’s always best to overestimate. That way when you’re done early, it feels like a super bonus!
Typically, a child should have about ten minutes of homework per grade. For example, a child in fifth grade should have approximately 50 minutes of homework.
Avoid having two homework times. This always leads to decreased focus and exhaustion. Homework ideally should be evenly spread so you never have to do long homework sprints or time crunches.
We like to set a timer in their homework spot to keep them on track and visually see how much time is left. This is the exact timer we use and it’s been helpful for our older kids and youngest to see their time shrink as they work.
If they have no technical homework for the day, they should still do some study time. It’s important to keep the routine consistent. Encourage them to either get ahead of their other homework or review their work for any upcoming tests.
Your child may need to be eased into homework time. When first beginning, start with fifteen minutes a day and work your way up from there.
4) Talk to their teachers
If your child struggles to get their homework done, there may be an issue. Excessive amounts of homework could mean many things. Anything not getting done in class typically leads to homework. Taking the time to discuss this with their teacher can help find the cause.
Since every child is different, it may be too many assignments for them to handle. Perhaps they need to learn how to focus better in class. A learning disability could also be contributing to not getting work done.
Talk with a teacher to see if they have any helpful suggestions or alternatives for your child. They may even suggest getting additional help such as a tutor.
5) Have a dedicated homework spot
Do you find you work better at a desk rather than anywhere else in the house? The same could be said for your child! Having a spot in the house dedicated to getting work done helps create a separation in the brain between work and fun.
If possible, keep homework time out of the bedroom and the bed. That spot in the house should purely be meant for relaxation. My daughter likes to do her work at a desk (this is the cute one we bought for her) and while we avoid her bedroom for this, we put a cute desk in a room where she can ask for help from an adult, but it’s also away from distractions such as the television.
When choosing a spot, it should allow the opportunity for supervision. This is especially important for kids who get off track easily or have a habit of not finishing their homework.
Make the space a positive area for them. Let them personalize it however they need it. Do they need music to help them learn? A standing desk so they can tap their feet while they work? Perhaps a decorated space will make it feel more like theirs!
6) Write out your routine
Having a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish puts the strain off of your brain. It can be the same visual chart every day or a daily to-do list for the older kids. A magnetic calendar like this one can be helpful for everyone in the family to stay on track!
Different days can have different tasks. For example, Mondays are for practicing French while Wednesdays are the days to work on math! If you have long projects to work on, make sure to map out the allocated time to finish them. Spread it out to avoid a mad rush to get it done.
7) Consider their needs
When you first start establishing your routine, you’ll find how ever-changing it will need to be. You’ll need to be flexible with the routine and know that it takes time to get used to. In fact, it takes at least three weeks to instill a new habit!
You may find you need more or less time allotted to doing homework. Or, you may need a different approach to how to separate different subjects.
Disabilities such as depression, ADHD, dyslexia, and more will all need special consideration as well. Clear communication between you, your child, pediatrician, and teachers will help develop homework and school routine that works best for your child.
Always aim to cater to their learning style. Some may prefer to listen to someone explain while others will want to read on their own. Some may like to watch a video to absorb while others like to use their hands to make a project.
Whenever possible, incorporate that preferred learning style into their homework routine.
8) Review their work
A homework routine also requires input from you at the end. You may need some time to also review the work. For little kids or those who don’t want to do homework, this is especially important. Over time, your need to review will go down.
Remember that the end goal is the effort taken and not perfection. Always give them words of encouragement and praise while reviewing their work. This way, they feel safe turning to you for help when they need it.
9) Homework fuel
Snacks make everything better! Getting a good amount of sleep, keeping hydrated, and enjoying healthy food will give the brain everything it needs for a good homework session.
Before homework, give your child healthy snacks and avoid any sugars that may lead to quick energy burnout. Keep water at the work station.
Let me know how your homework routine works out for you and your kids in the comments down below!