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How to Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child

Last Updated: May 22, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Klare Heston, LCSW . Klare Heston is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker based in Cleveland, Ohio. With experience in academic counseling and clinical supervision, Klare received her Master of Social Work from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983. She also holds a 2-Year Post-Graduate Certificate from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, as well as certification in Family Therapy, Supervision, Mediation, and Trauma Recovery and Treatment (EMDR). There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 90,093 times.

For many parents, when it comes to helping small children with homework, patience flies out the window. Your child may have trouble sitting still, concentrating, or grasping new or difficult topics. Note this: if you come off as dreading the homework process, your kid will, too. Learn to be patient with your young child while doing homework by using helpful strategies to prevent frustration, creating a workable system, and helping them learn to work independently.

Dealing with Your Impatience

Step 1 Close your eyes and count to ten.

  • If you need more time, try leaving the room for a "bathroom break," even if you don't need one.

Step 2 Take calming breaths.

  • Try deep breathing when you become impatient and notice yourself becoming relaxed and more in control. [2] X Research source Focus on drawing the air down into your abdomen, not into your chest.

Step 3 Repeat a mantra.

  • Stay quiet and relaxed during the tantrum. This will help your child calm down sooner. Place a hand on their shoulder or back to offer reassurance. Ignore any acting out behavior and refuse to say anything until your child has stopped the behavior.
  • With an older child, consider leaving the area or room.

Step 5 Schedule in breaks.

  • It may even be a good idea to let your child do some other after-school activity before starting homework in the evenings.
  • Know what works for your individual child. For example, your child may need to engage in physical activity before beginning their homework, or they may need to take short, active breaks.

Step 6 Do work of your own.

  • Try paying bills, writing out the week’s grocery list or menu, or reading a book during homework time. [6] X Research source
  • This will also help keep the environment calm because you will both be occupied with a work task.

Step 7 Get help for a struggling child.

  • If your impatience stems from the work being too difficult or taking up too much time, it may help to talk to your child’s teacher about cutting back on homework or being more realistic about what is assigned. [7] X Research source
  • If you can’t seem to explain concepts so that your child understands or your child is really struggling, it may help to hire a tutor who has experience in this area or have your child evaluated for a learning disorder.
  • If your child has older siblings, see if they can help. The concepts will be fresher in their mind.

Developing a System

Step 1 Work together to decide on a plan.

  • Think about what has worked in the past, or what may have been helpful for their siblings at that age.
  • Include your child in this plan, talking to them about what time they prefer to do homework and which aids are more helpful.
  • Make sure that your child knows what to expect each afternoon when it comes to their homework schedule.

Step 2 Be consistent.

  • A popular place in many homes for homework is the kitchen or dining room table. Make sure the area is well-lit, stocked with the necessary supplies, and free of distractions like the television or toys. Ask other family members to steer clear of the area during homework time whenever possible.
  • Avoid snacking during homework time. Save snacks for before or after homework.

Step 4 Suggest “chunking.”

  • Working on one aspect of a project at a time reduces frustration and builds confidence as they move along.

Step 5 Use helpful study aids.

  • Find out what skills your child is learning and research books, toys, and online videos that may assist them. One free online resource for homework help is HippoCampus.org. It features educational video content in over 13 subjects. [12] X Research source
  • Every child has their own learning style, so using a variety of learning methods may assist children who learn better through hands-on or auditory approaches.
  • Attend parent orientation night so that you can better understand the teacher's expectations when it comes to homework. You can also ask any questions that you may have.

Encouraging Independence in Your Child

Step 1 Encourage them to try first.

  • If they ask for your help, say, “Let me see you try first.” If they ask a question about something, say “What do you think?”
  • When reviewing what they have done, don’t check and correct all the work. Make sure they get the hang of it and suggest that they look back over it. But, never correct their work for them. Teachers need a measure of your child’s understanding, not yours.
  • You could also review the assignment after the teacher goes through and marks corrections.

Step 2 Make suggestions, but don’t supply answers.

  • For example, show them how to use resources to check over their work or find answers.

Step 3 Praise their efforts.

  • Back off a bit and let them come to you if they have questions. Review their work only once they’re done rather than throughout the time they’re working. Also, give them more physical space by moving your work to another area or allowing them to work in their room or another space.
  • You’ll still want to remain in the general area or check in periodically. Kids work best when they know you are nearby. [15] X Research source

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  • ↑ http://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/anger-and-violence/parents-anger-turning-down-the-heat-in-your-home/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201505/three-ways-be-more-patient-parent
  • ↑ https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/06/when-toddler-tantrums-test-your-patience-5-dos-and-donts/
  • ↑ https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-homework-battle-how-to-get-children-to-do-homework/
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/homework.html
  • ↑ http://www.parenting.com/article/help-kids-with-homework
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/help-gradeschooler-homework.html
  • ↑ http://www.hippocampus.org/
  • ↑ http://www.parentingscience.com/homework-for-young-children.html
  • ↑ https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/cb-1-2-3-help-with-homework/

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doing homework with your child

How to help your kids with homework (without doing it for them)

doing homework with your child

Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Monash University

doing homework with your child

Lecturer, Monash University

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The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers . Parent involvement in their child’s learning can help improve how well they do in school. However, when it comes to helping kids with homework, it’s not so simple.

While it’s important to show support and model learning behaviour, there is a limit to how much help you can give without robbing your child of the opportunity to learn for themselves.

Be involved and interested

An analysis of more than 400 research studies found parent involvement, both at school and at home, could improve students’ academic achievement, engagement and motivation.

School involvement includes parents participating in events such as parent-teacher conferences and volunteering in the classroom. Home involvement includes parents talking with children about school, providing encouragement, creating stimulating environments for learning and finally – helping them with homework.

Read more: What to do at home so your kids do well at school

The paper found overall, it was consistently beneficial for parents to be involved in their child’s education, regardless of the child’s age or socioeconomic status. However, this same analysis also suggested parents should be cautious with how they approach helping with homework.

Parents helping kids with homework was linked to higher levels of motivation and engagement, but lower levels of academic achievement. This suggests too much help may take away from the child’s responsibility for their own learning.

Help them take responsibility

Most children don’t like homework. Many parents agonise over helping their children with homework. Not surprisingly, this creates a negative emotional atmosphere that often results in questioning the value of homework.

doing homework with your child

Homework has often been linked to student achievement, promoting the idea children who complete it will do better in school. The most comprehensive analysis on homework and achievement to date suggests it can influence academic achievement (like test scores), particularly for children in years seven to 12.

But more research is needed to find out about how much homework is appropriate for particular ages and what types are best to maximise home learning.

Read more: Too much help with homework can hinder your child's learning progress

When it comes to parent involvement, research suggests parents should help their child see their homework as an opportunity to learn rather than perform. For example, if a child needs to create a poster, it is more valuable the child notes the skills they develop while creating the poster rather than making the best looking poster in the class.

Instead of ensuring their child completes their homework, it’s more effective for parents to support their child to increase confidence in completing homework tasks on their own.

Here are four ways they can do this.

1. Praise and encourage your child

Your positivity will make a difference to your child’s approach to homework and learning in general. Simply, your presence and support creates a positive learning environment.

Our study involved working with recently arrived Afghani mothers who were uncertain how to help their children with school. This was because they said they could not understand the Australian education system or speak or write in English.

However, they committed to sit next to their children as they completed their homework tasks in English, asking them questions and encouraging them to discuss what they were learning in their first language.

In this way, the parents still played a role in supporting their child even without understanding the content and the children were actively engaged in their learning.

2. Model learning behaviour

Many teachers model what they would like their students to do. So, if a child has a problem they can’t work out, you can sit down and model how you would do it, then complete the next one together and then have the child do it on their own.

doing homework with your child

3. Create a homework plan

When your child becomes overly frustrated with their homework, do not force them. Instead, together create a plan to best tackle it:

read and understand the homework task

break the homework task into smaller logical chunks

discuss how much time is required to complete each chunk

work backwards from the deadline and create a timeline

put the timeline where the child can see it

encourage your child to mark completed chunks to see the progress made on the task

4. Make space for homework

Life is busy. Parents can create positive study habits by allocating family time for this. This could mean carving out one hour after dinner for your child to do homework while you engage in a study activity such as reading, rather than watching television and relaxing. You can also create a comfortable and inviting reading space for the child to learn in.

Parents’ ability to support their child’s learning goes beyond homework. Parents can engage their child in discussions, read with them, and provide them with other ongoing learning opportunities (such as going to a museum, watching a documentary or spending time online together).

doing homework with your child

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Helping Kids with Homework: 11 Easy & Do-Able Tips for Parents

Tips for Smart Parenting 09/21/2021 11 minute read

Homework is the bane of every student, as it is for the parents.

As a matter of fact, homework is not even necessary in the first place.

Before you react, there are countless studies to validate this claim. But even if we go on a hard-fought, well-thought, debate on whether homework is important or not, homework is here to stay. 

That said, helping kids with their take-home assignments is a duty we have to fulfill. But how exactly do we do it?

Below are actionable parenting tips to help your kids with their homework without doing it for them!

You might be interested:  How to Support Kids Learning Science and Why it Matters?

Parenting Tips on How to Do Homework with Kids

We used to believe that parental availability and support while kids do their assignments is key for their class success. "The more involved parents are, the better off they would be," so to speak. 

But that is a misconception and sometimes may even be counterproductive. As Kathleen Reilly said:

“When parents are overly immersed in homework, they deny kids the chance to become more independent and confident. Worse, it can breed anxiety along the way.” 

Helping kids with homework means that you offer your support but never treat the assignment like it's your responsibility. It's challenging, but kids need to do homework on their own because the assignments deal with lessons already discussed in class. Plus, answering homework by themselves is a good way to teach independent learning .

With that in mind, here are the homework tips for parents:

1. Work Out a Working Routine

Believe it or not, children love routines because they create structure .

This helps children feel more secure because they know what to do and what's expected of them.

Face it, nobody likes homeworks. But make it easier for your kids to do their's by doing routines such as below:

What time should they start? Set a definite time when they should do their homeworks. Will it be right after they arrive from school? Should they play for an hour first? Would they do it after shower time or after dinner?

Where is their homework place? The place they choose is likely the area they feel most comfy working in. That element adds extra help when doing homework. Find a place and stick with it.

If you have multiple kids, distinct routines for each are fine. What matters is that you enforce discipline and commitment to the schedule. Write the details on a sheet of paper and post their routines on the wall!

2. Make a Homework Plan

The routine simply tackles the when and where kids do their assignments. A homework plan focuses on how they do it. 

Doing homework needs to be systematic , both for you and the child. Approach homework from a systematic point of view and you save yourselves time and whine.

The example below is the system I found most suited for my children. You can follow it or fashion your own process, whichever works best. Here's what my kids do:

Read  the directions of the homework, twice.

Determine the goal and the steps needed to achieve it.

Divide the assignment into several chunks (if logically possible).

Set time limits for each portion and mark each as complete when finished.

Helping kids with homework is not about giving them all the answers. It's about  strategizing on how to finish the homework effectively and efficiently.

3. Monitor, Don't Correct

Let's get back to basics .

What is the purpose of homework?

Homework allows teachers to gauge what the students understood in class. That said, mistakes are welcomed.

But since most parents dread the idea of making mistakes, they try to  correct each flaw too often all for a perfect remark.

Word of advice: Teachers are well-aware of how your kids perform in class, so they know the truth.

My point is, remove the notion of absolute perfection from your kids.

It's okay to make mistakes, as long as they learn how to correct them on their own ! There should be no pressure on them to avoid mistakes at all costs. Encourage an atmosphere of growth. But, make it clear to your kids they should resolve their mistakes the next time around, once they understand the correct answer.

Do this instead:

Allow your kids to ask you up to 3 questions on their homework. But, be stingy on answering their questions right away.

When they ask, reply to them something like "I can help you once I finish my chores" or "Read it again, I'll be back in a sec."

You might not realize it, but this is one subtle way to help kids with homework. When you delay your aid, you gently force them to reread the directions and rework the problem on their own.

Monitor and ask them probing questions on the reason behind their homework answers.

4. Set an Example to Imitate

Helping kids how to do homework can also mean modeling the behavior to them. This is a parenting hack that most parents fail to practice.

It can be a good motivating factor for the kids if you do chores like budgeting or computing household expenses at the same time they do their assignments.

This is one indirect way to teach kids how to do homework. Set a good example and you'll find them following your footsteps.

5. Don't Sit Beside Them

Sitting and closely monitoring your kids as they answer homework is not at all helpful.

Behind the scenes, it sends a message to their brains that you might think they can't do the work without direct supervision.

Would you like that? Of course not!

Helping kids with their homework should also tap into the emotional aspect of learning. Show them that you trust their brains by letting them do their assignment on their own. Otherwise, you shatter their self-confidence leading to feelings of inferiority.

Here are my suggestions:

Stay nearby, do chores, balance your checks, wash dishes. Basically, just be there for them, without literally sitting beside them.

6. Establish the No-Nonsense Responsibility

Make the duties of each member in the family clear.

Of course, both you and your partner have work responsibilities, and so do the kids! They're expected to be diligent with their responsibilities:

Attend classes

Work with their teachers

And of course... do their homeworks

Once they agreed to a working routine and a homework plan , then there is no turning back. Tell them to buckle their seats until they finish their tasks. Discipline matters just as much as intellect and system when dealing with homework.

7. Teach Them Time Management 

Time management is the one of the most important tools for productivity.

Once your kids learn the benefits of being in control of their time, they position themselves to a life of success. Time management is not only relevant for homework. Instilling this behavior is a must from the get-go.

One tip is using an old analog wall clock and coloring in the hour when they should do answer their homework. Once the short arm reaches it, teach them to take initiative to do their tasks.

Help them in sorting the time out too, especially, if there are multiple homework in one seating.

8. Positive Reinforcement is a Great Hack

They say the best way to man's heart is through their stomach. Well, the best way to a child's heart is through snacks and treats . (I made that up)

Instead of threatening them to limit their TV watching time or call their teachers, why not compensate their efforts with some good ol' sweets? 

Reinforcing their diligence pushes them more to do it. Scare tactics are not as good as rewards to encourage a behavior. Although, do the positive reinforcement practice sparingly.  

Appreciating their efforts is another way to help kids with homework as this motivates them. You can do this by:

Posting their aced assignments or exams

Displaying their art projects on the fridge

It showcases how much you value their efforts and how proud you are of them.

9. Walk Away Once the Whine Fest Starts

How does walking away help kids on how to do homework? Well, it doesn't. It's more for your benefit than them.

Having a rough day at work is physically and mentally exhausting . Add another layer of whining because kids don't want to do their assignments, and you enter a whole new level of stress .

If they keep on complaining, check their homework progress.

If they are only being grumpy even when they can do it, then try to motivate them. Tell them that the sooner they finish, the more time they'd have to watch their favorite TV shows .

If the homework is indeed truly difficult, then lend them a hand.

Ask their teacher about it, especially if the homework is beyond the kid's level of understanding. Inquire if it's appropriate to give kids complex problems. Their teachers would love to hear feedback from parents, on top of that, to aid the pupils with their homework!

10. Let Them Take the Lead

Their Homework is not only a test of one's learning but also of a kid's sense of responsibility .

Their answers should be theirs and they must own up if they fail to do it. If they left their homework at home, then parents shouldn't bail their kids out by bringing their assignments to class.

Matt Vaccaro, a first-grade teacher, says that he makes students do their assignment during recess if they forget to do it at home.

According to him "Once she starts missing playtime, she gets the message."

This seemingly harsh yet rightful way to deal with their negligence actually motivates the kids to be responsible in the succeeding homework. 

Helping them how to do homework is as necessary as teaching them to be responsible for it.

11. Keep Your Composure and Carry On

Homework meltdowns do occur, so be ready!

These are children's ways of saying they're overwhelmed . And sometimes these kids are indeed struggling so bad. 

Parents, please keep your composure. Breathe and stay calm . You risk compromising their progress if you too burst out in frustration. Remember that homework is an opportunity to cultivate better parent-child relationships .

Here are ways to address homework meltdowns:

A simple hug might do

Speak words of affirmation like "we'll figure it out"

Let them vent out to you while you listen calmly

Sometimes, kids just need to blow off some steam. Catering to these needs are subtle ways of helping kids with homework. See the mood change after they've burst the bubble.

If ever you did lash out (although we hope not). Apologize immediately and tell your child that you both need a timeout for 10 minutes. They can play for within that period and resume working on the homework once the time is up.

Helping kids with homework is a dual purpose. You make homework accomplishment more manageable for them and you make life easier for you. Consider the above homework tips next time your kids have assignments.

The How-to-do-Homework Hack!

Some kids might still see learning as a chore, and that's okay. I mean, who likes to wake up early and be in class when they can play at home all day?

Making the most out of their curiosity helps transform their perception of learning — from a tedious and boring chore to a fun and interactive learning experience. We believe that the way to encourage kids to do their homework is by making them see the fun in learning.

The best way to do this is using educational toys! 

The STEMscope portable microscope is a good tool to cultivate your child's curiosity. This handheld science gadget is an all-around partner for your kid's best learning! 

Once they activate their curiosity, they develop the insatiable desire to learn, after that, they will see homework as fun learning opportunity!

Check out our complete catalog of science toys to find the best toy for your kid!

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  1. How to Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child

    Know what works for your individual child. For example, your child may need to engage in physical activity before beginning their homework, or they may need to take short, active breaks. 6. Do work of your own. Model good attention and concentration skills by doing your own work while your child does homework.

  2. How to help your kids with homework (without doing it for them)

    3. Create a homework plan. When your child becomes overly frustrated with their homework, do not force them. Instead, together create a plan to best tackle it: read and understand the homework ...

  3. Helping Kids with Homework: 11 Actionable Tips for Parents

    Plus, answering homework by themselves is a good way to teach independent learning. With that in mind, here are the homework tips for parents: 1. Work Out a Working Routine. Believe it or not, children love routines because they create structure.