7 min read

Supporting children with their homework

- Tips on how to help with homework

Illustration of a child pushing away homework

Things you can try

  1. Remember that your child’s homework is theirs, not yours

    Don’t do it for them.

    When you offer to help, be clear about what you will or won’t do. Doing homework is your child’s choice. You are helping them to make good choices by inspiring them, not controlling them.

    It can be fun to think through homework questions together. But stick to the task - even if you’d like to go into more depth yourself!

    If they are finding it too hard, speak to their teacher. You can also ask school for guidance if you don’t understand something. The way things are taught now might be different from when you went to school.

    Homework time used to be really stressful. I realised I always ended up taking over just to get it done! That made my son feel even more frustrated. Now I try to support and help instead - my job is to help my child do their job.

  2. Set up the right routines for homework

    After school, many children are exhausted, hungry and need to re-connect with parents (although they might not be able to put this into words!). It’s common for children to try and ‘put off’ homework.

    Homework time often coincides with the end of the day when parents can be tired and wanting to get it ‘out of the way’ as quickly as possible.

    Setting up some routines can help make homework a more positive family experience:

    • Sticking to a regular time for homework will help to reduce your child’s protests or your feeling you need to nag them
    • Doing homework can be hard work and it requires energy. If your child is hungry or tired, let them have dinner or a snack first
    • Find a place for your child to do their homework that is away from distractions (such as the TV)
    • Make sure they have the equipment they need before they get started.
  3. Allow your child to get things wrong and try again

    Learning is usually about discovering rather than getting something right or wrong.

    When your child asks you a question, encourage them to say what they think first, before you give your answer. Then they will own their work and be proud of their achievement.

  4. Keep calm when emotions run high

    Homework is given to help support your child with what they are learning in school, but it can be a source of stress and anxiety for some children.

    It can also be a source of stress for many parents as getting children to complete homework can lead to conflict and power struggles. We’ve all been there!

    Homework might bring up painful memories for parents who did not have a good experience of school. This can make it even harder to approach homework with a positive outlook.

    Remember to be the adult. It is only homework, not a matter of life and death.

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