Back to school sanity saver #9
#9 Homework & boundaries
After extra-murals comes homework and only then comes time watching TV, playing games on devices and the like. If you put this boundary in place from the very beginning you won’t be fighting, nagging and arguing later on.
If your child needs a breather before starting homework, here is what to do:
1. Instead of allowing them to flop down in front of the TV for half an hour before homework (which is a very common practice that doesn’t recharge their batteries, rather it drains them further – read my book Tech-Savvy Parenting), rather try playing a short 10 minute game together, whether it is a card game, kicking a ball in the garden or taking a quick swim. There is nothing like play to raise energy and happiness levels.
2. If your child is particularly tired and you are battling to get through all the work, use a bit of creativity and move away from pen and paper if the work doesn’t have to be handed in. In other words, change the medium: times tables and spelling can easily be tackled in shaving cream on the side of the bath or on the tiles, and you will be killing two birds with one stone – getting the clean while learning.
3. A whiteboard marker on old ceramic sealed bathroom and kitchen tiles (the very shiny ones) works wonders for the same activities and even for making mind maps for studying history and biology, for example.
4. And how about writing letters, words and numbers with one’s finger on the kitchen counter in some sprinkled flour for those children in grade 1 and 2? These little creative tricks can make homework more tolerable on a challenging day and you might also look like a hero instead of an ugly parent.
Homework on the run
If you have a very busy child who does a lot of extramurals, they may also have to learn how to get bits of homework done on the run, such as doing reading homework, spelling and times tables in the car. While it is not ideal, whatever you can get done before getting home is always a bonus, so be homework savvy and teach them how to use up little pockets of time to get things done.
You are a helper not a doer
Remember that when it comes to homework, you are a helper not a doer. You do not need to pass grade 2, 4 or 6 for the second time. Help if you need to and then pull back. If you find you are helping too much you may need to engage the help of the teacher if your child is not grasping a concept.
Encourage the effort that is going in to the homework. It is the daily reality of life for a school-going child and is supposed to perform the role of reinforcing what was learned in class.
While am sure that if homework was pasted up on Facebook it wouldn’t necessarily be ‘shared’ or ‘liked’, you can still make it as hassle-free as possible and this starts with taking a disciplined approach now to create a daily habit that will save your sanity in the long run – you won’t regret it.
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