Managing homework time

Hassle-free tips for helping your child get school work done.

No-one enjoys doing extra work, especially when there are friends to call and TV shows to watch, so try these ideas for happier homework time.

1. Be a team player.
When the kids are still at primary school they need you to sit with them and work through what the homework is about. With teenagers your role is more about keeping your child in supply of drinks or snacks and steering away distractions.

2. Set a time limit.
Ask the school how long homework should take and don’t make your child struggle for longer than this. Have a rule that all work has to be done before 6pm and before noon on Saturday mornings. This way you get to be the ‘good guy’ by offering up the rest of your child’s time for relaxing and socialising.

3. Create a specific place where there are no distractions.
If it has to be the kitchen table make sure it’s not a time when you’re bustling making a meal. Set aside a space free of other siblings, TV or radio noise.

4.Get your child to post up a timetable of work
– even just a series of sticky notes that can be taken down as each job is done will give a feeling of achievement. Some work can be handed in over a longer period; help your child timetable getting various parts of the project done in manageable chunks rather than leaving it all to the last minute.

5. Check your child has the right support from class work to get the homework done.
If they feel confused it can make them frustrated and build a negative attitude to all homework. Remember that teachers (even in primary school) would rather you or your child ask for more detail rather than leaving work undone and misunderstood.

Savvy tip

Show you value your child’s work. Keep homework in a file to send back to school and ask your child what their teacher thought of the work.