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Caroline Dennigan

Caroline Dennigan Blog Posts
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10 Tips for Stress-free Homework

Do you have a tendency to hide when you see your children coming home from school with a bag full of homework? Rest assured you are in good company because it's a well-established fact that most parents dread homework nearly as much as children dislike it. 

Here are 10 simple tips and suggestions to help relieve the anguish of homework which you may not have thought of before. These suggestions will help establish a routine and make homework a positive experience, and stress-free! (For the whole family!)

It's all in the prep...

1. Create an area just for homework. (My daughter's desk was the best present we've ever bought her, giving value for years and years.) With your children's input, set up a homework station which is away from the distraction of television or screens of any nature, the crowded kitchen table and messy areas. This could be a cosy corner in the living room, hallway or bedroom. In the summer months, the homework area could be a picnic table in the garden. Keep the homework station well lit and stocked with pens, pencils, paper etc...

2. Get back to basics and break it down into smaller chunks! Set smaller, more manageable goals to get the homework assignments done. Reward your children with a break and set a timer when the break is over.

3. Agree on a schedule so the family get used to regular homework times. Some children prefer to work after dinner while others will want to get down to their homework as soon as they are out of school.

4. Set a good example. Do your children ever see you reading a book, working from home or studying? Now might be a good time to learn a new skill or learn a new language.

Getting woo-woo...

5. Invest in some peppermint oil which can also be used in a diffuser. Peppermint helps to clear the mind and increases focus on cognitive tasks. Some people prefer quiet music in the background.

6. If your children prefer to do their homework as soon as they get home from school, ensure they have a healthy snack beforehand (or as a reward for finishing it!) Concentrating is hard to do when hungry.

7. Some children prefer to do their homework with background noise and this could be a radio or relaxation sounds. Personally, I like to work to the sound of rain and YouTube is great for finding relaxation noise. Take care not to make the search for this 'essential homework music' a lengthy avoidance tactic!

8. Make sure your children know they can ask for help if they don't understand the assignment. And BE AVAILABLE!

9. Ensure access to resources such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries and a thesaurus. Most people may want to use the web for these things, but make sure they don't fall down a 'rabbit-hole' (the internet speak for the many many distractions that googling can result in!)

10. Have your children focus on one set of homework at a time. This is where keeping a homework planner is useful. Multitasking will only lead to stress.

For most, these are obvious tweaks to make. However, occasionally, when a child's homework is becoming increasingly stressful for all the family, parents might want to double-check they are doing everything possible to make the activity a smooth one.

A final option might be to hire a private tutor to really make some big improvements in a relatively short space of time. If homework is becoming a big stress then it may be time to seek professional expertise.

Do you have any ideas?

If you know some parents who might benefit from this article, why not share it with them? Think how popular you'll be!

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