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Overcoming the Homework Battle

It’s a battle that rarely has a victor.

Nightly homework struggles can weigh heavy on both parents and children, leaving everyone feeling frustrated.

The first step to a calmer household: Take the fight out.

Don’t force, don’t threaten. Instead, try experimenting with homework methods to ease stress and improve productivity.

Every child is different, so an after-school schedule that will work in your home, might not work for your neighbor.

Many parents adhere to the philosophy, “Finish your homework first,” likely because it was the rule in their own home growing up.

In some families, homework comes before free play and quiet relaxation, but this isn’t always the best option for all students.

Children spend the better part of seven hours in a classroom, and some really need a mental break when that final bell rings.

Try setting a designated amount of free time for your child every day after school before requiring them to sit down and tend to homework.

Children in after-school sports or activities get that much needed break and can usually jump into their studies when they get home.

Designating time to run around, be creative or simply relax can make students better focused and more efficient.

It’s also important to ensure your student has an appropriate place to do their homework so assignments gets their undivided attention.

This means no electronics.

Don’t have television or music in the background, and put phones away until all assignments are completed.

Electronics distract students, dragging out assignments much longer than necessary.

With littler ones, make studying fun. Come up with silly songs for difficult spelling words or find interesting ways to quiz math concepts.

If you find your child’s homework is taking an inordinate amount of time, schedule a meeting with the teacher to discuss workload and expectations.

And if experimenting with time management and environment still does nothing to quell the homework battle, see your doctor. There could be deeper issues taking root that need attention.

Meet the Author

Meigan Everts, MD, FAAP

Specialty: Pediatrics

Dr. Everts believes quality pediatric care occurs from birth through adolescence. According to her, “I like to take care of the whole person, understanding the physical, mental and social aspects of my patients. This helps me get a complete picture of how best to care for them. Most of all, I value building relationships and encouraging healthy two-way communication with my patients." View Bio [+]