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Helping Your Child With Homework

A young boy having difficulty with homework

Here are some tips to help your child do his or her homework:

Casually time how long your child actually takes to do the work. The rule of thumb for early grades is to multiply about 10 minutes per day times your child’s grade, on average. If your first-grader is working more than 10 minutes a night, every day, or your fifth-grader is spending more than 50 minutes each night on homework, you likely need to talk to the teacher.

Get to know your child’s teachers. Attend school conferences and read everything your child brings home, including the handbook. Learn what the teacher expects and is looking for in your child’s work. Ask questions and learn how to check on your child’s work.

Design a homework-friendly space in your home. This area needs good lighting, school supplies, and limited traffic and noise.

Schedule a regular time for homework. Right after school? After a snack? During free time? Observe what works best for your family and stick to the plan as closely as possible so it becomes a healthy homework habit.

Write your own lists, read your own books, do your own banking. If your children see that you, too, are working and thinking at the table, they will be more likely to stick with their homework. Adults can help best by asking good-quality questions, reading directions and helping students realize that they will be able to do the work with thought and practice. However, don’t do their homework for them. Children need to do their own homework.

Help your child with time and project management skills. A quick review of the backpack will help determine if this is a short or long homework night. Start with the hard homework and end with the fun or easier homework, when energy levels are depleted. 

For more tips on school kids (kindergarten through sixth grade) check out our Parenting Post newsletters.