It’s a pretty classic part of parenting to help your child with their homework! They come home from school and just don’t quite understand a math equation, or are struggling with writing a paper, and just need a little help to get on their way. Some of the most memorable moments from these years are made at desks, on the couch, or around the dinner table as you work through their homework together and help your child learn. The question is, how can we do this in a way that inspires them to keep trying and learning?
Speak life into their efforts
When your child is struggling with a particular subject or chapter, make sure you do not discourage their efforts as they try to learn. Try to encourage them in specific ways, such as “I can tell you are working hard at this, because you have spent a lot of time on it, and that makes me so proud of you.” Your words make a huge impact, especially as you compliment their work ethic and build their intellectual identity with words like “smart,” “creative,” and “focused.” This can change even the most difficult time in school to something they look back on positively!
Teach them to teach themselves
While nothing can replace a parents’ involvement in homework, it’s also helpful for you to point them toward other resources. If they are struggling to find the right words for a writing project, try working on finding a few words that sort of fit, and then teach them how to use a thesaurus, or teach them how to use an online thesaurus. If they are really struggling with math, ask questions that help solidify the concepts in their mind, and consider finding books that may help. Take the time to talk about what they are struggling with, ask questions to help them think through things themselves, and point them toward or help them find resources that may help them. If they ask you questions you don’t know the answers to, admit you don’t know, but will find the answer with them! Help them learn how to learn, and they will never stop learning!
Set up a routine
Talk to your child about what would make homework more manageable, easy, or fun. Do they want to do it outside, at a desk, in the living room? Do they want to have a snack first? There is no right or wrong routine, but it is worthwhile to take the time to find the right routine for them, and letting them change it over time. This gives them a feeling of control and customization, and lets them know you care about helping them succeed. It also gives you the peace of mind to know they do have a set time and place to get homework done, so there’s no need to stress over it.
By following these three easy tips, you can help your children do their best in school as you encourage their efforts, help them learn how to learn, and establish routines!