Looking for a few easy ways to take the struggle out of homework time? We have a special guest, Monique, here to share her favorite tips for helping kids focus and stay on task! Let’s check them out!
The back-to-school season can be a struggle for some families. Most kids are already counting down until summer break, and parents want to make sure their children are ready for a successful school year. With these seven tips and tricks, you can help your child tackle homework, stay focused and engaged, and experience a great school year.
How to Set Your Kids Up for Success This School Year
Schedule Homework Time
Just like bedtime, teeth brushing, and dinner, homework should take place around the same time each day. Studying under this kind of schedule helps your kid establish a focused mindset when it’s time to crack open the books. A scheduled homework hour also ensures assignments aren’t neglected or pushed off until the last minute. Hang a weekly or monthly calendar with listed homework times on the fridge or in another visible area to hold your child accountable—and help you remember when they should study.
Bust Some Moves
Children have a lot of energy, and exercise is good for their brains and bodies. Kids and teens should exercise for at least an hour each day to keep their bodies active and healthy, help them sleep better at night, and boost their mood. Before homework time, take a walk, run around the park, or shoot hoops. After depleting energy, kids may find it easier to stay seated and work on homework. You can even invest in a Fitbit to help motivate your kids to learn more about fitness.
Establish a Dedicated Homework Area
Don’t let your child study in bed or on the couch because they associate these spaces with sleep and relaxation. Create a dedicated study space, whether it’s an office in your home or a corner in the living room. Your child should use this space solely for school work because it can help train their brain to get into a study mode each time they sit down and open their books. Keep the study space well-stocked with any supplies needed, such as a computer, notebooks, pencils and pens, and textbooks.
Take Planned Breaks from Studying
Young children can’t concentrate for as long as teens and adults. For example young children should be able focus on a task for four to twenty minutes, possibly more, depending on how challenging or enjoyable it is. If you set aside an hour each day for homework, plan for five-minute breaks every fifteen or twenty minutes. During these breaks, encourage your child to stand up and move around—they could complete five jumping jacks or stretch their arms. These short breaks help your child reset and transition to a new assignment.
Watch Educational Shows
TV time always makes for a great reward when your child finishes their homework or receives a good grade. Build on your home’s study vibes by tuning into educational shows, like Sesame Street or Sid the Science Kid. Whether you use a smart TV to stream content or a traditional TV to view shows, make sure your lineup includes educational programming like CBS, PBS, and Animal Planet. Scheduling TV time after your child’s set homework hour helps motivate them to stay focused on studying and completing assignments so they have time to watch TV before bed.
Use Fidget Tools for Focus
Children who have a hard time concentrating or who experience bouts of energy sometimes need extra help staying focused on tasks. When your child starts fidgeting, give them a stress ball or fidget spinner. Gently squeezing the ball or spinning a little device helps kids control their body and can improve learning. Tactile learning, such as squeezing a ball while reading an assignment, helps the right and left sides of the brain work together. If a stress ball or other fidget tool is helpful, talk to your child’s teacher about allowing your young one to use the tool in the classroom.
Break Tasks into Smaller Checklist Items
Big projects and extensive syllabi are overwhelming for children, and the large list can seem impossible to accomplish. Break these lists down into smaller pieces and add them to a checklist. Keep the list visible in your child’s study space so they can monitor their progress. This visual representation helps children conceptualize their assignments and feel more accomplished when they can check off a box. For example, for an essay on the planet Mercury, you might create a checklist with items like read about Mercury, list the top facts about Mercury, and so on.
Try some of these ideas this school year to motivate your child and help them stay focused and engaged.