As the second month of school comes to a close, you may find that your family is still figuring out the perfect balance between after school activities. When I taught elementary school, I often heard that my students were too exhausted and rundown to concentrate on homework activities. Unfortunately, finding a balance between after school sports and clubs and homework is sometimes easier said than done. Here are some things to try if you haven’t yet found that perfect balance.
1. Make it Predictable
Students thrive in predictable situations. If they know what to expect and what is expected of them, they are much more likely to hit the goal! Sit down with your child and create an afterschool routine that suits both of you.
2. Start Early
Timing is everything! Work backwards… what time should your kiddo be in bed? Make sure he/she has time to wind down before bed. Students often sleep better if they have a chance to relax their mind before going to sleep instead of completing homework just before lights out!
3. Set a Timer
In early elementary, the idea of completing schoolwork after school could seem unthinkable for a student. Help your child stay on track (or at least in his/her seat) for a set amount of time by using a timer. Begin by setting the timer for small increments of time (such as 5 minute intervals) and then build up to 20 mins. or so. An entire math page may seem daunting at the beginning of the school year, but if you break it down into sections and reward your child with a break when the timer goes off, you will help your child build confidence and concentration!
4. Fuel Up
Provide your child with a healthy, protein-rich snack before beginning homework activities. If your child’s physical needs are met, he/she will be able to concentrate more easily on the task at hand.
5. Find a Good Place
All children are able to concentrate better in a quiet, calm environment. Help your child determine the best place in your house where they can work on school activities. Be mindful that the kitchen table is usually the hub of all excitement in the evening and needs to be cleared off for dinnertime. It might not be the best place for your child to unload his/her backpack!
Inviting your child to discuss these tips will help them own their decisions regarding homework time. Setting oneself up for success is half the challenge of getting there!