Tips for Parents on Navigating Homework Time with Your Child

By Huntington Learning Center

As students move throughout elementary school and toward middle school, the role of the parent evolves— especially when it comes to homework. It’s critical that parents limit their involvement in homework but don’t back away completely.

While much depends on the student and their specific challenges and needs, we advise parents to encourage independence. Here are tips for parents in determining the role they should play during homework time:

  1. Put your child in charge. Ask which assignments your child wants to work on first, but let your child take the lead. Make sure your child is clear on what they need to do (by reading directions together if needed or having them describe assignments to you) but do not get overly involved. Instead, be on standby for help. As your child moves through elementary school, make sure they begin to take full ownership of their school work and grades.
  2. Build time management skills. At a young age, children have a harder time using their time effectively and wisely, so it’s important for parents to establish a homework routine that involves planning out all work sessions carefully and prioritizing homework assignments from hardest to easiest, from most to least involved. Time management is one of the keys to homework success, especially as assignments become more involved and difficult.
  3. Help your child develop a solid organizational system. Good organization goes hand in hand with time management, and students who are both organized and good managers of time perform better in school. Help your child adopt a system of organization that is easy to maintain. Keep inbox trays or folders in a central place where your child can drop papers for you and file away graded homework they no longer need. Being organized will help your child avoid distractions that can cause issues during homework time.
  4. Empower your child to do things their way. Your child might not always do things the way you would, and that’s okay. If your child prefers to study with music and snacks and their sessions seem to be productive, that is fine. Some children might need a break after school before diving into homework, while others might want to get right to it.
  5. Get an idea from your child’s teachers how much homework is reasonable. They can guide you on what to expect as far as amount of homework and time it should take. They can also share signs to watch for that your child is spinning their wheels. Not all work time is productive, after all. Monitor how your child works and how productive their time is.
  6. Teach your child to ask for help. As you build homework independence and hold yourself back from stepping in to make homework your responsibility, it’s important to remind your child to advocate for themselves. Your child needs to be self-aware enough to identify when they need help. When they don’t understand homework, tell your child to ask questions in class and reach out to the teacher when they need to.

If homework is a daily stressor that causes your child significant anxiety and stress, there might be something going on behind the scenes. And as subjects become more difficult and school becomes more challenging, these problems are likely to grow. If your child needs help, call Huntington. We’ll pinpoint the source of the problem and develop a targeted program to help your child develop homework independence and become the best student possible.