Helping Children Develop A Homework Routine
Often times, just starting homework is the biggest hurdle for children. Creating an expectation around when children begin their homework can help them transition more easily.
Explain to your child that having a homework routine can help them feel better about starting their work.
Give agency to your child by asking for their ideas and thoughts on when they would like to begin their homework time. Would they like to do it as soon as they get home? After a snack? After some play time? Or before dinner? Be sure to offer realistic options for your child (i.e., if you have dinner late in the evening, perhaps after dinner isn't a good idea.)
If your child is struggling to start their homework, you can remind them of the routine they created. An example may be, 'I know it's hard to stop playing, but remember we worked on the homework routine together and you agreed to work on your homework at this time.' Offer your relationship to help your child get started. For example, 'Can I help you by bringing your backpack to the table? Would you like me to sit next to you while I pay bills?'
Recognize that it takes time to adapt to new routines; it may take several weeks to get used to a new schedule.
For younger children, visual reminders of your routine can be helpful for transitions
Sometimes timers can be helpful because they provide a visual reminder of how long each activity will last. However, timers can be stressful for some children, so pay attention to how your child responds. Don't use timers if they create more stress for your child.
Be flexible. Some days children may need more time to work on their homework or more time to relax. Follow your child's lead and understand that it's okay to adjust the schedule based on how your child is feeling.
By engaging with your child to develop their routine, you are giving agency to your child which can help them to stick to their routine and develop their executive functioning skills.