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Homework Hassle Help


Homework can be a particularly challenging time of the day for you and your child. Your child is probably exhausted by the time he/she comes home and it is difficult to sit down again to do homework. Your targeted involvement in the homework process, especially helping your child stay organized and focused, can be beneficial to your child’s success.

Kindergartners and first graders, who are new to the concept of homework, should be guided to establish good homework habits from the start that will serve them throughout their academic careers. Listed below are some recommendations for keeping homework time calm, efficient, and successful.

  • Designate a quiet place to do homework away from distractions like TV and radio. Avoid cooking or playing with siblings right near your child.

  • Keep the area well-lit.

  • Equip your child’s work-space with all of the materials that he/she might need, such as pens, pencils, erasers, paper, etc. so that he/she is not distracted.

  • Establish a consistent after school routine including a snack, sensory preparation if indicated (see next week’s blog post), homework, and play time with clear beginning and ending times for each component. A timer can be helpful to keep you on track.

  • There are different ways to sequence homework assignments. Tackle homework in an order that works best for your child, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is for your child to work independently.

    • One strategy is to divide homework assignments by what your child can do with and without help. Let your child do as much as he/she can independently.

    • Another method is to work on more difficult assignments first while your child is most alert.

    • Alternatively, he/she might benefit from successfully completing easier assignments first.

  • Impose short breaks as soon as you notice that your child is:

  1. Becoming fatigued

  2. Getting frustrated

  3. becoming fidgety

  4. Sitting posture is deteriorating

The best movement breaks consist of intense, controlled movement such as, 30 stride jumps, jumping jacks, hops on each foot, or jumping on the trampoline that has a clear beginning and end, to promote a quiet alert state

  • Help your child with time management and prioritizing assignments, especially when preparing for an upcoming test or completing a long-term project. Write each phase on a designated calendar.

  • When your child asks for help, provide guidance-not answers.

  • Teach your child to check that homework is complete, by reviewing it together.

  • Help your child get organized for the next day by helping to pack his/her backpack the night before with whatever materials need to return to school the next day.

  • Provide frequent praise and positive reinforcement for putting forth their best effort as well as a job well done.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog for Homework Hassle Help Part 2: Sensory Techniques, and upcoming blogs on Executive Function.

Blog Written by Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR and Chaye Lamm-Warburg, DPS, OTR, Director POTS

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