Homework, a given by the time a student reaches high school, starts early for most students. Teachers even send home assignments with kindergarteners. It’s important for parents to establish healthy routines around homework, and that includes knowing when—and how—to help your young kids complete their homework assignments.
- Location, location, location: For many young children, doing homework tucked away in their room isn’t ideal. Setting up at the dining room table while you’re making dinner means they’re not lonely or distracted by toys, and you’re available to answer questions.
- Goal-setting: Some kids benefit from creating a task list for the day—and perhaps even an order in which to do things. And, as an incentive, you might withhold screen time until certain goals are met.
- Question the questioner: When your child says they don’t understand an assignment, ask what they think it means. When they ask how to spell something, ask how they think it’s spelled (and point them to a hard copy of a dictionary for kids). This gives you a chance to provide gentle guidance or encouragement while still letting kids think things through.
- Limit the lifelines: If your kid asks for help constantly, try limiting the number of questions they can ask on a given day to three. They’ll be more apt to try to solve problems on their own to save those precious lifelines.
- Redirecting: In some cases, rather than helping your kids finish all their homework, it’s best to let them turn in something that’s incomplete so they can get assistance from the teacher. This helps establish a pattern for future homework questions in high school and beyond, when the teacher may be the only source of guidance.
Above all, remember it’s crucial for children to learn how to do their own homework—don’t do it for them!