How to Make a Homework Routine That Works

Mother and Father Help Daughters With Homework
Routine and Supervision Get Homework Done. MoMo Productions

Do you want to avoid homework struggles with your K-12 age child? Then you need to make sure you have a homework routine that works in place. A regular homework routine establishes clear times when homework is to be completed. 

Homework routines create clear expectations for your child so they know what is required of them. It also helps them to develop a habit of doing their work. Once the routine has been in place for a few weeks, your child will most likely just begin doing their homework without needing to be reminded (although you will need to monitor their work progress.)

Ask Them When They Want to Do Their Homework

Their first answer might be "Never!," but if you dig a little deeper your child may be able to tell you about what matters to them in their time schedule, helping you to avoid scheduling homework during a time when a friend is available to play or during their favorite tv program. You may be able to use this information to build in homework completion incentives.

When you include your child in the decision-making process, you will also get more buy-in from them. They know that their concerns were heard. You don't have to give them their way, but at least considering what they have to say will let them feel included. It is about THEM completing THEIR homework after all.

Decide If They Need Food or Movement First

Your child has already spent at least 6 hours in actual class time before they could head home. This doesn't include time getting to or from school and participation in before or after school programs. Combine this with doctor appointments and the extra time the child is spending sitting or waiting because of other family members work and school schedules, and you have a child who has already spent a very full day of work and focusing before they have arrives home. 

Some kids really can step through the front door after arriving home from school and buckle right down to their homework. They can reap the reward of getting their work done early and having the rest of the evening to play. Most kids will probably need to eat and have some time to decompress by having free playtime.

Other benefits of getting homework done regularly include developing your child's work ethic and organizational abilities. By helping your child complete their work at regular intervals you are modeling how to manage time and projects in the future. When you send them off to college, they will at least know how to pace their work so they can avoid all-nighters at the end of the college semester.

Decide How Much Time They Need for Homework

Generally, you can expect about ten minutes of homework per grade level of school. This can vary dramatically between teachers and schools. Find out how much time your child's teacher expects homework to take each evening. If your child takes a much greater amount of time to complete their homework, talk with your child's teacher about what can be done to help your child. They may need extra instruction on a task or a reduced amount of homework.

Now Make The Actual Plan

Now that you know what your child's needs and concerns are for finding a time to do homework, you need to come up with the actual plan. Creating a homework routine is really just one piece of creating a daily school year routine.

For the homework time itself, make sure that you get it down on paper somehow so you can see exactly what they will be doing and when they will be doing it. If your child can do homework when they first arrive at home, get down on paper exactly the time that they will be working on homework i.e. 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm - homework. If it is after dinner, have that time written out as well.

Do this for each day of the week if you have different activities on different weekdays. Secondary level students and elementary students who are assigned larger projects will need to review their homework plans regularly to make adjustments as needed.

You Have the Plan, Now Get the Homework Done

Once you have decided on a time to do homework, stick to the plan! It usually takes about three weeks for most children to really get into the habit of their new schedule.

This is all about creating a routine, so make sure you have a place for your child to do their homework each day. This place should be comfortable for your child to work with the right amount of supervision. make sure that they have all of the supplies they will need to complete their homework assignments.

Expect your child to work consistently throughout the assigned time to do their homework. Most children and teens should avoid having multiple times in an evening to work on homework, such as a session before dinner and a second session after dinner. The divided time is so interrupted that children often spend more time getting into what they are doing than being able to work continuously.

There are some exceptions: If your child or teen has difficulty maintaining concentration for the length of time that their homework should take, then you may want to carefully consider breaking up the work to take advantage of the time when your child can focus.

Children and teens with depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may benefit from smaller work sessions and more frequent breaks.

At the end of the homework time, look over the work your child has done. Check to make sure they understand the work and that a reasonable amount of work was completed during the homework session. If you find your child is having trouble actually working during their homework time, find out if they need help understanding their work or if they just need more motivation to get their work done.

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