homework tips

Harlow is in the 1st grade and doesn’t have real homework yet, but as you might remember, homework was a big struggle with Mazzy last year. Her third grade homework wasn’t just hard for her, it caused a lot of stress and battles for our whole family and really messed with our quality time in the evenings.

Today marks the beginning of her third week of fourth grade, and according to Mazzy’s teacher, that means homework begins TONIGHT. Mazzy is not too thrilled about this, and that’s the understatement of the year. I’m a little scared too.

Last week, one mom asked for tips to relieve homework stress in the Remarkably Average Parents facebook group, which told me that Mike and I are not the only parents dealing with this. I found myself reading through the thread for ideas and decided to share some of my favorites here too.

Not every tip will work for every kid, and of course, every family has different thoughts on how involved the parents should be with homework at all, but maybe there’s a nugget in this list that will work for you too.

11 Tips to Make Homework Time Tolerable from Parents Who Have Been There

1) Plan ahead for when homework will get done.

“I have my daughter look at her schedule at the beginning of the week and plot out when homework will get done. Sometimes we have after school activities and sometimes we don’t, some days we have a play date, etc. so she doesn’t always have the opportunity to do it at the same time each day. We’ll figure out that on Monday, homework will be done after dinner, on Tuesday she has an hour before piano lessons so she can do it then, on Wednesday she will stay for study group, and so forth. It helps to have her involved with formulating the plan.” – Deborah

2) Try to avoid jumping into the work as soon as they are home.

“What works for us is letting my son have a set time he can play until, and then it’s homework time. My daughter would just come home and get it done so it was over, but he needs some unwind time first.” – Jennifer

3) Allow them to have some control.

“We’ve had luck with checklists. He can choose the order he wants to do things, as long as everything gets done.” – Harmony

4) Get them moving while you work.

“We used a basketball and bounced it back and forth while he did times tables. Keeping little ones moving while learning is extremely helpful. My son was easily distracted so engagement was key.” – Amanda

5) Remember that there is sometimes more than one way to get the job done.

“One of my kids hated to read books, but was assigned nightly reading time, so instead, I gave him the task of finding information for me. I would have him choose any topic of interest— an animal, sport, car, whatever. Then I would tell him to find 10 facts about that subject that I didn’t already know (he was allowed to use the computer), write them down and ‘present’ them to me. He LOVED doing this and it eliminated so many reading fights. He was still reading though!” – Diane

6) Don’t limit yourself to the indoors.

“Sidewalk chalk when it is nice outside is great to work on spelling words!” – Sarah

7) Turn it into a game with a sought after prize.

“My first is in kindergarten, so our homework experience is limited, but her teacher suggested making a game of it. We invented a game with her flashcards that we call “Battle.” She gets the first chance to say the letter/word. If she’s correct, she gets to keep the card. If she’s incorrect, I get to keep the card. At the end of the stack, if she has more than me (she always does), then she gets something she wants, like a little extra TV time.” – Rachel

8) Switch off with your spouse/significant other.

“Make their father do it. Seriously though, we alternate months. Neither of us likes to do homework, so this way, everyone is miserable, only half the time.” – Megan

9) Try to help as minimally as possible.

“Our school tells us that homework is to see what the kids still need to work on in class. If parents help too much than the teachers can’t really learn how to improve their lessons or which kids need more help. Tell your kid that it’s okay to put a question mark on a problem that he doesn’t understand.” – Melissa

10) Utilize resources outside the house!

“If there is an after school program that keeps them on task, that might help. My youngest struggled with this— as soon as he was away from the school environment, his brain just told him he was done. Even in college, he set a routine to stay on campus, either in the library or the labs until his work was done.” – Vickie

11) Make it a family activity. 

“When they read, you read. You’d be surprised how setting a good example helps cut down the whining.” – Heather

Do you have any homework tips to make it a less stressful experience for both kids and their parents? Tell me about it below!

If you have parenting questions and want answers from a group of people who are seriously good with support and advice, join the the Remarkably Average Parents facebook group!