Ten Ways to Help Reduce the Stress of Homework


homework tips

Jack Prelutsky wrote a poem that perfectly sums up the feeling most kids (and parents) have about homework.

Homework! Oh, Homework! 

I hate you! You stink! 

I wish I could wash you away in the sink, 

if only a bomb would explode you to bits.

Homework! Oh, homework! 

You’re giving me fits. 

I’d rather take baths with a man-eating shark, 

or wrestle a lion alone in the dark,

eat spinach and liver, pet ten porcupines, 

than tackle the homework, my teacher assigns. 

Homework! Oh, homework! 

You’re last on my list,

I simply can’t see why you even exist,

if you just disappeared it would tickle me pink. 

Homework! Oh, homework!

I hate you! You stink! 

I’ve been a teacher for 16 years and will admit, that I used to assign a lot of homework to my middle schoolers early in my career. Every time a parent questioned why I gave their child so much homework in one night, I would say that I was making sure they deeply understood the content matter and I was preparing them for the challenges of high school. Fast forward a few years, and now I have elementary aged children who sometimes receive too much homework. Well, I finally understand those parents!

While homework is not meant to cause stress, if the assignment is too lengthy or complex, it often does! If your child was consistently stressed or frustrated with his/her homework last year, you might want to re-think their homework routine. Sometimes a little adjustment can make a huge difference and help to turn homework into a more positive experience. 

Here are ten ways parents can help their kids reduce the stress of homework.

1. Have a Quiet Homework Space

Kids need a quiet, designated space to work that is away from the usual distractions of the house, especially if there are toddlers in the house. Having a quiet homework space, such as a desk in their room, is key to limiting homework frustration. 

2. Get Started Early 

While all children are different, a general guideline is to start homework earlier in the day rather than later. Waiting until later in the evening usually leads to more tired and cranky children.

3. Eat a Healthy Snack

Why is it that kids always come back from school starving? Eating a healthy snack will help give kids some fuel needed for the rest of the day.  Once they are fed, they are likely to be more cooperative and inclined to get their homework done. 

4. Have an Agenda

While most elementary kids do not have a set agenda, having a list of what needs to be done is an important step for all parents and children. Reviewing their agenda helps to get an overall picture of what assignments/projects are coming up. This will help set a realistic time-frame for how long homework should take each day and plan for time to complete longer projects due later.

5. Time Management

Helping your child with time management is key when it comes to homework. Try to limit distractions as much as possible so that your child can be more efficient with his/her time. 

6. Take a Break

If your child is groaning or you hear their chair moving too much, it may be time for them to take a brain break. A little break of about 3-5 minutes of stretching or going outside for a few jumping jacks can do wonders. Sometimes a mental break is just what’s needed to give that extra boost of energy and help them finish their work. 

7. Stay Positive

If your child is starting to melt down with the amount of homework or level of difficulty, remind them to stay positive. Tell them to take a few deep breaths and say phrases like, “I can do this” and “I will figure this out.” 

8. Give Some Adult Guidance

Although your child knows that you went to school once upon a time, remind them that you were once in their shoes. Provide them with some ideas of what helps you focus when you have a deadline coming up at work or what you used to do when you were stressed with homework. 

9. Do What Works

As your kids get older, they’ll start realizing what works for them. This could mean listening to music while they do homework or calling a friend to work on the assignment together. If they are understanding the work and are getting good grades, sometimes it’s best to let them be. 

10. Go to Sleep Early

No matter how old your child is, a sleep routine that includes at least 9-10 hours is critical for your mental health. So do yourself and your kids a favor, and go to sleep early.

How do you feel about homework? What tips can you share?


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