Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in homework — it shows kids that what they do is important.

Helping with homework can have many benefits for kids. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!

How to Help

  • Get to know the teachers. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
  • Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
  • Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
  • Keep the distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment could prove helpful.)
  • Make sure kids do their own work. They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it's a kid's job to do the learning.
  • Get involved in your child's academic career. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Check completed homework and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
  • Set a good example. Do your kids see you reading the newspaper, writing letters, or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
  • Praise their work and efforts. Post an aced test or art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.
  • If there are continuing problems with homework, talk with your child's teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board or perhaps need evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2008

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