Helping your child with their homework can feel like stepping into the ring. But it doesn’t have to become a daily battle. Here are some steps you can follow to make homework a more positive (or at least more bearable) experience for you and your elementary schooler.
Don’t wait until your child brings home their first homework assignment. Make a plan before the school year begins, so you can set them up for success.
Once you’ve laid a foundation for the year, follow these steps to help your child conquer their homework each day.
How much actual help should you give your child with their homework?
It can be helpful to think of your role as ‘homework project manager’. Specifically, your job is to:
In fact, it may do more harm than good. If your child is struggling with multiplication, for example, you might be tempted to show them how you learned in school. But if they’re learning a different method, this can cause more confusion.
If your child is struggling to master a concept or a lesson, message their teacher and ask if they can go over it again.
Remember, helping them get their homework done is not the same as helping them do their homework.
When they get stuck, resist the urge to jump in and solve it for them. Use it as an opportunity to hone their problem-solving skills. Instead of giving the answer right away, ask questions to help reframe the problem or find another way of solving it.
Remember, there can be ‘too much of a good thing’ when it comes to parental involvement in homework. Studies have shown that ‘helicopter parenting’ (one of many common parenting styles) can have a negative effect on a child’s academic performance over time.
Check enough of their work to see if they understand the concept, but don’t correct every mistake. If your child turns in perfect homework every time, their teacher won’t be able to see how well they’re really mastering the material.
Remember, this season won’t last forever. Most likely, your child will need less support with homework as they grow older and develop the skills needed to complete tasks on their own. In the meantime, making a homework action plan – and sticking to it – can set your child (and you) up for homework success.
Learn how to master kick-ass parenting strategies by getting started with Family Man. It’s an interactive parenting video series that's expert-backed and funded by Movember.
If research is your thing take a closer look at the evidence behind Family Man.
Or learn more before diving in.