Homework made easy

Stick to a routine
Ideally, children should have a snack and a short break after school before settling down to do their homework. But create a routine that works for you too.

If you're unable to supervise it, find out if your child's school offers a homework class after school, or make sure that their aftercare facilities allow (and encourage) them to complete their homework.

Create a homework spot
Some children work best surrounded by family life, while others need the privacy of a closed door. Create a space that's conducive to work.

Ensure that there's adequate lighting and make sure your child is comfortable. Support their upper body with a pillow, and place a box under the table to support their feet. This will help your child focus and concentrate.

Take regular breaks
Short breaks can help a child to maintain concentration, but take your cue from your child. Some children take ages to settle down again after even a short break, while others see a break as the ideal opportunity to escape homework altogether.

Limit outside interference
Some children work better with the radio or a CD playing. Certain people do need more auditory stimulation than others, but don't be fooled. Doing homework in front of the television is not the route to long-term success.

Get involved
The younger the child, the more involved you need to be in terms of structuring and supervising your child's homework time, says educational psychologist Brenda van Rooyen.

"As your child gets older you can gradually move out of the picture, unless your child needs specific help with something, but back out gradually."

Be patient
As parents, we tend to forget that we have a lot of experience in handling tasks, whether it's managing a home, running a company, or simply dealing with life's challenges.

Children haven't had a chance to develop these life skills yet. Show your child how to break big projects up into more manageable tasks, set goals and suggest various ways to approach their work.

Keep an eye on siblings
There's something about seeing an older sibling doing something important that brings out the monster in younger children. Plan your strategy. Give younger children their own "homework" to keep them occupied (colouring in or crafts, for example), or allow them to watch a favourite TV programme.

Create a bargaining tool
Scheduling homework before your child's favourite TV programme could prove to be an excellent motivational and bargaining tool.

What methods do you employ to ensure homework gets done? Share your tips in the comment box below.
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