Back to school can be a difficult transition for many families, but even more challenging for some is the return to homework — for both kids and parents.
A new survey from Office Depot finds that nearly 25 percent of parents think their children are given more homework than they can handle, while four in five parents said they have struggled to understand their kids’ homework. Additionally, the survey found that nearly 50 percent of parents would opt their child out of receiving homework in at least one subject area, while one in three fessed up to having finished their child’s homework for them.
“We were surprised to find that nearly one in three parents admitted to completing their child’s homework for them at least once,” says Natalie Malaszenko, SVP, eCommerce for Office Depot. “We can only speculate, but parents might feel compelled to complete their child’s homework to help minimize their child’s stress: 50 percent of parents reported their child has cried due to homework stress. Minimizing arguments could also be a factor since nearly 40 percent of parents argue with their child about homework at least once a week.”
Though some schools are banning homework, partly in response to growing research around the potential harm in overloading children, homework is still the law of the land for most school-aged children.
How can young kids and parents tackle after school assignments without any arguments or meltdowns? We spoke with a number of experts to build an optimal routine for getting homework done.
Make it predictable
Having a routine around homework is half the battle, suggests Joanne Ketch, a psychotherapist who has also served as an assistant principal and school counselor at a college prep private school in Texas.
“Make it predictable, preferably in the same place and at the same time each day,” says Ketch. “This routine trains the brain to prepare for homework and study, and the brain will begin to anticipate the activity and gather and prepare itself to be in the best mode for study.”
Emily Denbow Morrison, a high school English teacher adds that “when we make doing homework less of a decision and more of a natural habit for kids, they are far less likely to put it off.”