But how should you go about this? Here are 10 simple things you can do to help your child with their homework.
1. Set a routine
Having a set time to do homework that works for both you and your child can make “homework time” go a lot more smoothly. Try and schedule this time in for when they are most alert and ready to learn. If possible, encourage your child to choose which time to do their homework themselves: by letting them have a say, it may make them feel more responsible and more motivated to complete it.
Once you have a set “homework” time, it is key to stick to it. A clear routine can help your child feel part of a predictable environment and it can soon become part of their normal daily routine. This would mean that they are less likely to dread and procrastinate finishing their work.
2. Have a designated homework space
Having a designated workspace to complete their homework can get your child into a working mindset and improve their focus when they are there. This could be in a separate room, or a table that is not being used for anything else.
Ensure that they have all the equipment they need before starting on their homework, as this could lead to distractions if they realise they need something after they have started their work. Also, ensure that that the workspace is clean and tidy as this could also help boost their productivity. If you need more tips, we’ve previously written about what the ideal home learning environment looks like.
3. Get rid of all distractions
Nowadays, the main distractions for students tend to be their electronic devices, including mobile phones.
Research has shown that schools which banned mobile phones experienced a significant increase in their students’ grades. Therefore, while your child is doing their homework, try and remove their electronics away. This can allow them to get their homework done faster and to a higher standard.
4. Have regular breaks
Having regular, short breaks during homework time can allow your child to feel more attentive. If possible, exercising during these short breaks can be very useful (this can even be a quick dance break), as this helps boost brain power.
5. Promote independence
Allow your child to take charge of their homework. Research has shown that students who did their homework by themselves ended up doing 10% better in exams than those who did their homework with their parents helping them.
Step back whilst they do the homework and allow them to get things wrong. This way, their teacher will know that they are struggling with that area and can help them out. If they don’t understand a question, encourage them to leave it and come back to it at the end.
Research also shows that helping your child learn self-management skills is also beneficial for their academic performance. This could include suggesting how long your child should spend on their homework and allowing them to record their total time spent on their homework. If your child is provided with the answers, let them self-mark. This would allow them to recognise their strengths and what they can work on next time.
6. Help your child organise their time
Organisation is a key skill for your child to learn and develop. If they are given many tasks to do, sit with them and ask them what they think the best way of dividing their time is. Give them suggestions, if there is another easier way. Then, make a plan and help them stick to it in order to complete all of their tasks.
7. Encourage your child to develop a growth mindset
During homework time, you may hear your child say “I don’t know how to do this”, or “I can’t do this”. This way of thinking is known as a fixed mindset, which means believing that their talents are set in stone.
The opposite, known as a growth mindset, revolves around the belief that you can improve your intelligence, ability and performance. As a parent, you can encourage your child to develop a growth mindset by adding the word “yet” at the end of these phrases when they say them. Adding this word suggests that they can still achieve what they want with some extra time and work.
If your child is still discouraged with their efforts, ask them: “What would you do differently next time?” After experiencing a setback, this can allow them to stop dwelling on the past but help them reflect and focus on how they can improve in the future.
For more tips on how to develop a growth mindset, check out this blog.
8. Be a role model
Encourage your child to see you working on things during their homework, such as writing grocery lists or even talking about what you have done at the office that day. By seeing you also do work, it can motivate your child to work on their homework as well.
9. The most powerful sentence a parent can say: “I am so proud of you!”
This simple phrase has very powerful effects and can help your child feel encouraged. Often, children spend longer doing homework due to the fear of failure. Using the phrase, “I’m so proud of you” can reduce this fear by letting your child know that they would always have your support.
In turn, this may give them more confidence and increase their self-esteem, allowing them to achieve more when doing their homework.
10. Communicate any worries you may have with their teacher
Let your concerns be heard! If you feel that your child is spending too long on their homework, or is struggling a lot with it, tell their teacher. The homework they set may have been too academically challenging for them, which may also reduce their confidence in the long term. Talking with their teacher may also allow your child to gain any extra support if needed.
Getting homework done may be a struggle, especially when your child does not feel any motivation to do it. However, there are tons of ways to support your child - implementing these tips into your daily life can help homework time go a lot more smoothly. This in turn can support your child during their academic development.