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Homework Tips for Parents: Helping Your Child Study

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 9/11/2012

If you want to help your child with their homework, use these tips to help them meet their educational goals.

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    Setting the Mood

    Do you listen to music while you clean? Or maybe you can't read while people are talking. Talk to your student to find out what kind of atmosphere works best for them. Then, create a study area that is suitable just for them.

    Setting the mood also means setting the time. People get used to doing certain things at certain times. Homework is no different. If it is done at the same time every day then it soon becomes a habit to just do it. Find a time when the area is going to be quiet and free of distraction and forever claim it to be study time!

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    Parental Tips

    Use one or all of these tips below to help your child with their homework.

    • Observe but don't stalk! It's okay to check in on your child, but don't hover over them. Watch them to see when they are at their best during homework time. If they actually study better with the music on then let them have it on. Keeping a list of what you observe is a great way to develop positive study time.
    • Try to remember the areas that you struggled with and share the methods you used to get through those struggles. If they don't work for your child, that's okay. At least they know you are willing to work with them and often new ideas spring from old ones!
    • Empathize when the student struggles. That doesn't mean give in and do their homework for them. It just means it's okay to say "I know I really didn't enjoy my math class either."
    • Have patience. If they understand a concept, find a way to help them. Trust me when I say you will do more damage than good if your child sees that you are getting frustrated by helping them. If the material frustrates you as well as them, let them know it's the subject you are upset with, not them.
    • Offer help when it's not asked for. While you still don't want to hover, your child may be afraid to ask for help. Start by asking them what subject they are working on. If it's a subject you know they struggle with then ask if they would like some help with it.
    • Use planners. If your child doesn't have a planner, go get one. I can't think of a better way to keep track of assignments then to list them and check them off as you go. This is also a great way to develop a sense of accomplishment as the student watches their "to do" list be checked off.
    • Offer positive reinforcement. Let them know you see the effort they are making and the goals they are reaching. Empower them by deciding on a method of positive reinforcement. For example, if they have been skipping homework, but recently have made a substantial effort to do it, offer a reward in the form of a movie they wanted to see or even just time playing a game with them that you usually won't play.

    Above all, offer encouragement and stop to remember that while you may think your trials at their age were harder than the trials they have, they are still having them. As adults we may become frustrated with the monotony of life. however, our children are just starting and their is nothing monotonous to them about having to learn loads of new information every day.

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