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Making Parental Peace With Kids' Homework

SATURDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The start of a new school year is edging closer and it might be a good idea for parents to start thinking about how they're going to deal with homework issues, one expert suggests.

"The battle is different for every family. Some children resist starting their homework, some have a hard time finishing and others do their homework -- but don't turn it in," Drew Edwards, an adjunct associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said in a university news release.

Parents should work with their children to develop an effective system for bringing school assignments home, such as a notebook that children use to record daily homework assignments, or an assignment sheet that they take to school.

"It's important to get in the habit of writing it down and bringing it home. That will help students get in the habit of bringing home the correct textbook or other materials needed to finish their homework," Edwards said.

Here are some other tips:

  • Children need to find the right spot to do their homework. Have them try doing it in several places until they find the one that feels right.
  • Determine the right time for children to do their homework. Pick a time -- such as right after school or after dinner -- and try it for two weeks. If that doesn't work, try another time for two weeks.
  • Determine if your child likes to do homework in a certain order, such as starting with the hardest assignments. You can offer suggestions, but let the child make the final decision.
  • Have your child focus on one subject at a time and put away all other books and materials. "Looking at a pile of books can make a child feel overwhelmed or can just make it tough to focus on the current assignment," Edwards explained.
  • While you should offer support and encouragement, try not to hover.

Do not nag your children about their homework and do not do their homework. These are two of the biggest mistakes parents make.

"School is important but so is the relationship you have with your child. Don't let homework become an issue that harms that relationship," Edwards said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers more homework tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Wake Forest University, news release, July 2012

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