Family

Make your child a model pupil at study time

Now that children have well and truly settled back into their school routines, it's time to set some new ground rules for when they come home at the end of the day. It's important parents remember to take an active interest in their kids' homework.

Some kids love doing homework, but many find it a struggle. And while some parents might nag their young ones to do it, others aren’t interested. But with a little planning, homework can become an easy part of your family life. Here are some tips:

  • Studies show that children are more successful at school when their parents take an active interest in their homework, because it shows your children their work is important. Make time every day to talk to them about what they’re doing.

  • Don’t expect them to do homework while perched on the couch with the TV blaring. Make sure there’s an area in the house that’s quiet and set up with a desk and stationery, and let your child feel special by using this desk just for their homework. Some children like to have one in their room, but others prefer to remain near the family. This is good for you too, as you can keep an eye on them.

  • Even if your child’s doing well at school, make an effort to go to parent-teacher evenings and inquire about the school’s homework policies. How much do they expect kids to complete each night, and what level of involvement will they need from you? Children can get confused about what’s required, but you can help.

  • Talk to your child about the best time to do homework. Do they find it better to do it before dinner so they have the rest of the night to relax? oost parents prefer this option because they don’t get too tired. Some children prefer to have family time and a meal, then do their homework. Set a time you feel is appropriate for them. What’s important is that the homework gets done, not what time you think they should be doing it.

  • Even if your child claims TV doesn’t distract them, it does. So have a “no TV” rule. Make sure their phones are switched off while they’re doing homework, and Facebook is off-limits too while they study.

  • Taking an interest is great, but doing all the work for them isn’t. By all means make suggestions, but if your child doesn’t think for themselves, they won’t learn.

  • Curriculums can be confusing, especially since the introduction of NCEA. Make an effort to understand how it works and talk to your child about which assignments are due when and what exams they’re sitting. Putting a calender up and noting these dates can be good for everyone. There’s a good website called www.studyit.org.nz for students doing NCEA, which can help.

  • Take time to check homework for simple spelling mistakes or clarity. This can help your child the next time they go to do it.

  • Make a big fuss when they get good marks and point out that doing their homework no doubt contributed to that mark. Put good results on the fridge for the whole family to see, and make sure you talk about the results to the extended family. It really helps kids to know that you’re proud of their efforts. If your child is really struggling, help them by breaking down each task into little pieces that they can do one by one. Sometimes a large assignment can be frightening, but when they do it slowly it makes a lot more sense.

  • Some children do better studying with others, so don’t be afraid to let your child have a friend over to study with. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they actually do their homework.

  • Rather than criticise or get angry at your child for not doing any work, look out for every little bit they complete and encourage them to keep going. Children respond well to positive reinforcement.

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