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Homework or No Homework - How to Connect with Your Child About School
Tips from Teachers
Insights and Ideas from Smart Love teachers and tutors on how to help your children have a successful school year!
Create a Daily Check-In Routine: Set aside some time each day to ask your child about their school day, including their experiences, challenges, and any homework they may have. If your child doesn't seem like they are ready to talk, be sure to provide some space and let your child know that you'll be available if they want to talk later. Remember school is a long day for children, filled with rules, requirements, and work; children may need time to decompress before engaging in a discussion about their day. Be mindful of when and where you check-in with your child, for example, be sure you have enough time to hear everything they want to share and the environment is conducive for sharing, i.e., away from others. Consistently checking-in with your children lets them know you care and want to know about their day.
Ask Open-Ended Questions and Be an Active Listener: When your child talks about school and homework, actively listen to what they have to say without interrupting or judging. Show genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings. Instead of asking simple yes-or-no questions, encourage your child to share more by asking open-ended questions like, "What was the most exciting thing you learned today?" or "Tell me about the homework you received." I wonder statements for younger children work well to encourage your child to open up, "I wonder who you sat next to at lunch?" or "I wonder what game you played at recess?" or "I wonder what you learned in math today? I remember last week you mentioned you were working on multiplication."
Set Homework Time Together: Involve your child in deciding the best time for homework. Let them have a say in the schedule to ensure they feel more in control of their responsibilities. Encourage your child to take short breaks while working on homework. This helps prevent burnout and improves focus when they return to their tasks.
Offer Support, Not Solutions: If your child is struggling with homework, let them know you are available if they want your help. Avoid jumping in and solving problems for them. Offer to brainstorm solutions together. If your child is putting in an effort, but not asking for help, allow them to continue to work on the problem independently even if their answers or work has mistakes. Praise your child for their efforts, growth, and resilience, whether big or small, and avoid criticizing or comparing your child's academic performances to others. Positive reinforcement will motivate them to stay engaged with school and homework.
Be Flexible: Understand that some days may be more challenging than others for your child. Be flexible and adaptable in your approach to their needs. Ensure your child has time for rest, play, and relaxation in addition to their schoolwork. A balanced lifestyle fosters overall well-being and better academic performance.
Be Patient and Offer Unconditional Kindness: Remember that building a strong connection with your child about school and homework takes time. Let your child know that your love and support are not dependent on their academic performance. Assure them that you are there for them, regardless of any challenges they may face at school. Creating a nurturing and supportive environment that fosters a strong parent-child connection provides a solid foundation for their academic success.
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