Helping children focus on homework

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Helping children focus on homework

Here are some tips for helping your child focus during homework. First, recognize that homework is not fun and don’t try to make it seem like it is. I mean once in a while you’re going to get lucky and have an interesting assignment, but for the most part, kids don’t want to do homework. And I’m a great believer in being honest with your kids and saying, “You know, sweetie, I get it. I know you’d much rather be outside playing, you’d much rather be playing with your brother in the other room. And let’s see if we can make this happen so it doesn’t just cost us a lot of time and energy.” The first tip is to chunk it down. Kids will more willingly dive into doing something unpleasant if they see a light at the end of the tunnel. So work in… let your child set the timer. Maybe 7 minute increments, so that they don’t feel they’re going to be there for the next 10 years doing math problems. The next is to see if you can mix it up where they do a little bit of an assignment and then you say, “Okay, listen carefully. Do the 10 problems and then run around the backyard twice, bring me three blades of grass and put them in my left hand while you sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.” In other words, you’re trying to wake up their brain so that in the midst of this monotonous, mundane task, there’s something interesting that they’re chewing on and keeping them engaged. And then finally, another tip is commiserate, let them know… see if you can support them, bring them a little cup of something warm to drink, make the room a pleasant atmosphere that they work in and support their effort to get through this task without a lot of drama and a lot of difficulty.

View Susan Stiffelman, MFT's video on Helping children focus on homework...


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Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Author & Therapist

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the weekly parenting advice columnist at the Huffington Post. You can sign up for Susan's free parenting newsletter. 

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