Heather Miller, the director of an education firm in New York City and author of “Prime Time Parenting,” recently published two articles through Harvard’s Graduate School of Education entitled “Homework Help for Reluctant Children” and “The Power of Evening Routines.” Each has some wonderful tips to assist with middlers at home. A few highlights from each article are included below:
- Have children do their work at a communal table. Stay nearby, to alleviate the loneliness that some kids feel- and to prevent procrastination. Parents can help their students by serving as the “homework project manager” by monitoring, helping to organize, motivating and praising the effort a student puts forth
- Ask your child to unload her backpack and talk through assignments.
- Having supplies nearby allows the pre-work process to go more smoothly and helps a student think through the entire assignment, understand the assignment, and prepare to complete the assignment.
- Ask your child to put the assignments in the order he/she would like to do them. Encourage him/her to explain their thinking – fostering a sense of control.
- Use a timer. Challenge your child to estimate how long an assignment will task and ask if he/she wants to set a timer for that full amount of time, or less.
- By creating a “Done/To Do” list you are helping your student develop an understanding that larger tasks do not have to be completed in one sitting, but can be distributed over time
- Meaningful positive reinforcement assists a student feel like what they are doing matters and is helpful to learning
- A predictable structure can help families gain quality time
- “Doing the same things the same way at pretty much the same time each day facilitates the acquisition of skills and knowledge bit by bit, day after day…If you follow a routine at home, your executive function is better developed than it might be if your home life is unpredictable…The very practice of executing routines strengthens our capacity for learning”
- “In the digital age, when the constant stream of devices so frequently interrupts the flow of home life and face to face interaction, routines at home are more important than ever.”