Homework Hell

Do you dread the after school “witching hour?” Hate asking the question, “how much homework do you have?” Wish for peaceful evenings playing and relaxing with your kids, instead of fighting over studying spelling words or the Spanish Inquisition? STEPS is here to help! The practices we use in ABA can help you and your child get through the dreaded homework hour with a few simple adjustments.

5. Set a schedule – kids thrive on routine. Actually we all do…knowing what’s next helps children transition from highly engaging preferred tasks to tasks less interesting or fun. It also increases their motivation to know that when they are finished their work they can do something they enjoy! Set a warning timer for 15 minutes before the chosen “homework time” has been determined. Let the timer be your child’s reminder. It is one less fight you have to have! “The timer is up, time to start your work!” You can’t fight with a timer!

4. Set a time limit…what grade is your child in? Common rule of thumb or “best practice” is 10 minutes for each grade. So your child is in first grade? Homework should be 10 minutes! 4th grade, 40 minutes… Set a timer, let your child decide if they want to break up the time or do it all in one chunk. Set a timer, play beat the clock! If he gets his work done before the timer goes off…hallelujah! If he doesn’t, when the timer goes off, sign the top of his homework and let his teacher know this has taken x number of minutes and he was unable to finish the work assigned during that time period. Don’t worry about repercussions. It is important for his teacher to know the work was challenging. This will help her plan and help your child master challenging tasks. It will also open up dialogue between you and your child’s teacher about how you can both help support his learning,

3. Set a spot…and make it consistent. Having a place where your child completes his homework helps him focus on the work and not the intriguing fun distractions that are everywhere! Make sure the area is well stocked with school supplies, so that time isn’t wasted on finding a ruler or a pencil with a point. Make it convenient, it should be in a place where you can be helpful if necessary. Let your child decorate it! He should want to be there and be proud of his “office!”

2. Set a goal: Using a dry erase board, help your child decide what is hardest to complete. Do that assignment first! If it is one big assignment, break it into small parts and list the parts on the board. This way your child learns to prioritize and make choices and can focus on doing this more challenging work. He will also feel good about his work once it is finished and the other homework that needs to be completed shouldn’t be as daunting.

1. Reward: Praise your child for completing his work and turning it in! Make sure he knows you are proud of his hard work! If your child needs a little more motivation, provide your child with some highly motivating activities such as iPad time or time to shoot some basketball hoops with you outside when they are finished with their homework.