“Mom! Dad! Help me! I’ve got a test tomorrow and I don’t know what to do! I can’t find my review notes and I don’t know how to get started!”
“Hmmmm, You've been home for 3 hours and you haven’t been studying. This is a familiar pattern. Let's see what we can do for this test and then discuss what we can do differently next time.”
Sound familiar? One of the best gifts to help our kids develop is that of homework and study habits that help them do their best in school. In this second of a two-part series, let’s look at a few more ideas for doing just that:
Design a Few Simple Rules and Expectations – Watch the flow of a typical evening to identify “bumpy” areas that could benefit from a rule. When a few rules are in place and consistently enforced, you and your child will find the evenings less stressful. Examples of good rules might be “Your homework isn’t finished until it is loaded in the backpack" and “Homework gets done before the electronics go on”.
Organize backpacks, homework and clothes the night before –To prevent weekday morning chaos, which can result in a child forgetting his or her homework or lunch, have your student pull together what she or he needs for the school day the night before. You might help your young child design a school day checklist and then use the checklist to make sure they have what they need the night before. Encourage your child to lay out the outfit they want to wear the next day before going to bed, as well. This will save both of you a lot of time in the morning.
Designate an area for each student’s school items - A cubby or area with a basket could hold books, graded papers, a backpack and any other school-related items. Everything can go back in the cubby at the end of the homework period. Now your student knows right where to look to find his or her school things the next morning!
Designate a Homework and Study Area –This area should preferably be at a table, be well-lit, and away from possible distractions. Having a designated spot for completing homework and studying will keep your child on task and will help ensure that school materials stay together.
Declutter –It’s a good idea to help your child file loose papers in their proper locations once a week. You might have them go through their rooms and homework areas and recycle papers they don’t need anymore. For older students, encourage them to declutter their laptops or desktop computers by deleting documents or downloads that they don’t need to keep.
These tips can help in smoothing the flow of weekday evenings. As your student matures into the Tween and Teen years, encourage and expect him or her to do this independently. Good task management skills are vital to any busy person and will help your child not only in the growing up years but throughout his or her adult life.