In this day and age, when succeeding and achieving has become such an important part of one’s future, children often begin to experience school and essentially homework anxiety. This may occur at any age but primarily is noticed in their preteen years. Schoolwork becomes more advanced and they are given assignments that require more thought and time. They are encouraged to think about what they are learning and expand upon the subjects. This challenges them in a good way, although many feel it’s not as simple a task, as homework was in the past.
The best way to deal with this is to supply the student with an organized homework plan and study skills that will make homework a lot simpler and easier to cope with, instead of that “dreaded night time ritual.”
Time Management and Organization- Set a definite after school or after dinner time devoted to homework assignments. It’s essential to allow the proper amount of time for homework, since you do not want your child still up at 11:00 PM with only half their assignments completed.
Homework Environment- Choose a room that is quiet and a tech-free zone, unless they require a computer to do assignments. Turn off all Smart Phones so they do not buzz or ring while concentrating on homework. Turn off televisions so all focus is on homework, rather than “juggling,” or doing two things at once.
Prioritize- Decide which assignments are more important, as in which are due the next day. These are the ones to approach first. Time is of the essence, so make sure the focus is on what is most important.
Tests- Studying for tests requires gradual studying, rather than last minute cramming. Impress upon your child that it’s far easier to learn and absorb gradually than trying to remember things you are merely memorizing at the last minute. Urge them to discuss their subjects and ask questions of their teachers and parents if not clear on certain aspects of the topic. Flash cards and quizzing are other helpful ways to study and help absorb information.
Nutrition- The foods one ingests also play a strong part in the way one learns and absorbs material. Eating a meal high in protein, good carbs and fats will help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, making the exercise of studying and doing homework far easier. It also naturally boosts Serotonin in the brain which elevates mood and creates a less reactive individual. Good Nutrition equals better stamina and sense of well-being. A calm individual always will perform better. Thinking on an empty stomach often suffers. The brain requires proper nutrition to remain in the zone of learning. A protein snack (real food) before doing homework will increase one’s ability to concentrate and retain information
Exercise- Always allow time outdoors for exercise before or after doing homework assignments. This burns off excess energy, quiets the mind and relaxes one to sit down and concentrate. It boosts endorphins and promotes the ability to focus on studies. Outdoor activity is recommended as outdoor light helps to increase Serotonin levels in the brain. Even cloudy days are brighter and more beneficial than indoor lighting.
Homework Frustration- If your child is having difficulty with any subject and they have attended all classes, it is imperative to speak to the teacher. Find out where the difficulty lies and what your child can do to improve understanding. Is there extra credit they can do or does this teacher offer “in school “or after class “extra-help” sessions or tutoring in the subject. Are there student tutors in your school that offer help at affordable rates or outside tutors specializing in specific subjects. Never hesitate to reach out for extra help since this could set your child on the right track in a short period of time. Often a few sessions give them the understanding they need.
Remember, Homework is Not Punishment- Therefore, make it a pleasant experience. Explain to your child that homework is to learn about things that are interesting and exciting. Not all subjects may feel this way at first but if you discuss them in a spirited way, it may awaken their interest in the topic. Anything can be made more interesting if approached correctly. The goal is to make learning fun.
Assisting with Homework- Naturally there will be times when your child asks for homework assistance and that is fine. Just remember that homework is for your child, not you. It is to make them think about what they learned in class and use their own mind to apply the answers. Discuss the questions with them and always ask, “What do you think?” Let them tell you, rather than you supplying the answers. This way you will be helpful, without doing the work and they will feel confident that they did it themselves.
Most of all let your children know that learning and education is something that makes them more interesting people. It allows them to discuss many topics with friends and family. It paves the way for a future that includes topics and ideas they may want to learn more about so they can pursue their dreams in life.
It’s all about perspective. Making homework less of a drudge is the goal. Understanding that there is a purpose to homework and this is to make them view things from all sides and perspectives. So much depends on how you, as a parent, approach the subject of homework, as well. Never treat homework as punishment, “Go do your homework, NOW!” but as an opportunity to put one’s learning to good use. This, and your tone, are key to inspiring your child to approach homework in a less anxious manner.