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Helping your child finish their homework can be a daily battle. They’re tired, you’re tired, and the last thing your child wants to do is more school work. They’ve most likely been sitting all day, paying attention and working their brains. It’s an hour until bedtime, and you find yourself bargaining with your kiddo, offering all kinds of rewards if they just finish the chapter summary of The Call of the Wild.

While you might not agree with having homework, there are ways to make getting it done less of a struggle.

Daily Routine – Complete your homework at the same time each day. Come home from school, have a healthy snack, play outside for 10 minutes, and then get your homework done. Don’t put it off! Consider using a visual schedule for your after school routine.

Turn off Technology – Make sure there are no distractions around you. Turn off the TV, tablet, gaming systems, and even the radio if it is disturbing you. Try to complete homework in a calm area that is free of visual clutter.

Energy Boost – Crank up the tunes and dance your way around the kitchen during clean-up time. Movement gives kids energy and helps with focus. A ten minute game of tag or pick-up basketball before sitting down for homework will “wake up” your child and increase their concentration.

Visual Timer – A visual timer can be helpful to show your child how long they have to work for. Typically, kids need a break every 10 minutes; it’s easier to get to work if you know how long you have left.

Prioritize – Take a look at the tasks that were sent home. Write them on a list and prioritize according to how urgent or important they are. Maybe tonight you only need to focus on finishing your reaction to the science experiment from today, and the geometry questions can wait.

Frequent Breaks – Offer frequent brain and body breaks. Encourage your child to get out of their seat and move their body for at least 2 minutes before getting back to work. This recharges their batteries and tunes in their focus. An ideal body break has three parts –energizing, heavy work, and a calming task to finish it off. Try out this body break when your kiddo is getting antsy:

Run and touch 5 things in the house that are green (and then repeat with blue)

Do a wall sit while you count to 30

Pat your head with your right hand and rub your tummy with your left hand (switch)

Complete 2 rounds of 5 finger breathing

Be a Positive Role Model – As an adult, it is important to be a good role model for your child. During homework time, turn off your own technology and engage in productive work. Read a book or magazine, make supper, or help your child with their work.

If frustration is too high and you’re at risk of breaking your connection, it’s time to put the books away. Send an email or write a note to the teacher explaining the situation and ask them for guidance. Acknowledge your child for the effort that they put in, “You must be so proud of how you stuck with that math tonight.” Maintaining and supporting the relationship you have with your kiddo is the most important homework task of all.

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