Conquering the Homework Battle: 5 Simple Steps to Homework Routine Success

As an elementary school teacher for 14 years and mom of three young ones (10, 6,and 4), I have learned that setting up an efficient work space and consistent after school routine for your child are key in helping them succeed during homework time.

I sometimes have up to six children working away on homework at my house after school and have to resort to using our wonderful kitchen table to do the trick.

Here are five pointers that are essential to homework survival for both parent and child!

1. Routine is fundamental!  Stick with routine!  Children at any age cooperate better, with less fuss and meltdowns, when they know that there is a consistent routine.  This allows them to feel like they are in control; they feel safe because they can predict what is happening next.   It also provides the necessary boundaries for them to guide them into good life habits such as prioritizing and accomplishing.  Our after school routine is:  wash hands, snack time, share about your day, and then homework or quite work time for younger ones, and then free time (with no TV on school nights).  I have had 6 children (ages 4, 5, 5, 6, 9 and 9) do this routine all year long and they all knew that was our routine and they never fussed or complained, and if we veered off the routine they would keep each other on track. Even the younger ones would keep the older ones in check!  A visual routine is very handy for this.

2.  Have a consistent location clear of distractions and clutter.  Make sure that the location you choose is one that is nice and bright, not dark and dingy.  The distraction of the TV and radio should not be nearby either.  Having the same location for homework every day helps kids to feel that they already are ahead of the game because they know that they can sit there and be able to work without being asked to pack up their books and move, or be bothered by others people or other distractions.

3.  Have necessary supplies organized and within arms reach.  A simple method I use is just a standard cutlery tray that sorts pencils, erasers, scissors, coloring pens & markers, and glue.  This supply organizer eliminates any excuse for procrastination or time wasted in needless searching for simple must-haves.  It is also easy to store and put away!

4.  Have a timer.  This fun strategy allows kids to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Use a timer and set it for 30 minutes or a time that works for the age group or task. This lets them know that they can get up for a break if they need to or that time is up for little ones and now free time is next.  There are a lot of fun and funky timers out there.

5.  Be accountable.  A parent’s involvement is very essential as it shows your child that you care about them, and that their school work is important. So make sure to be nearby to check on how work or quiet time is going. Even offer to check their work after.  When they know that you care, they will care more too.

Following these simple steps will help elim inate homework battles and frustration.  The after school routine can just become a natural flow of the day.

Do you any unique after school routines or tips that help you and your children with the homework battle? Feel free to share or comment below!  Plus Staples has all the supplies you need to get your homework routine started with success!

DSC6987-teacher-at-deskElaine Tan Comeau is a mother of three young children, a wife, an elementary school teacher, an award winning entrepreneur, and CEO & Founder of Easy Daysies Ltd., and Dragons' Den Winner.


By Adam

September 13, 2013