Encourage. Let your child know that you are proud of him for working with distractions or for solving difficult problems that he didn’t think he could.
Let your child fail. If the homework doesn’t get finished that night, let your child go into school without it. If you want to talk to the teacher about why the homework was not finished, that is okay. But, you shouldn’t be the one to punish your child for not having homework completed. Homework should be evaluated by the teacher.
Give into tantrums. Help your children without doing the work for them. Otherwise, they learn that when things are difficult, they can just give up.
Nag. The homework needs to be important to your child, not important to you. If you are constantly nagging him to do it, then it becomes a battle between you and your child, rather than a learning tool.
Badmouth the teacher or the assignments. Your child needs to respect his teacher. Therefore, if you have an issue with the homework, talk about it with the teacher, not your child.
Even with all of these careful calculations, children who are school age will occasionally feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted by their homework. They might throw their book bags or rip out pages of their notebooks. Alternatively, they might simply cry about how they just cannot do their assignment. If these meltdowns occur every now and then, this is normal and a symptom of our pressurized school systems. However, if these meltdowns happen on a consistent basis, there is something larger at play.
What You Can Do:
Regular routine. If your child does his homework at the same time and in the same place every day, he will be more likely to feel in control and at peace. Set aside a separate area and time for homework nightly.
Sleep. Children who do not get enough sleep will not be able to concentrate and will therefore be more prone to being overwhelmed by homework.
Get tested. If your child is struggling with work on his grade level, consider having him evaluated. He might be having meltdowns because a learning disability is preventing him from comprehending the assignment.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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