10 Tips to Reduce Homework Stress
By Lori Lite
Did you say homework? I don’t know too many children that come in the door, sing a song, and smile while doing homework. Just saying the word homework can cause even the calmest mom to cringe in fear! Like all parenting challenges…having a plan and a few tips to reduce homework stress can turn homework into a positive stress free experience.
1. Purchase a second set of used textbooks to keep at home. This is especially helpful for children that have difficulty juggling assignments and organizing. It is also a healthy choice for your child’s spine. Online shopping makes it easy and affordable.
2. Help your child understand directions, organize, and create a time management plan. Don’t forget your teen. They have more on their plate and could use your guidance and experience.
3. Break it down. Set smaller goals to complete a portion of the assignment. Reward your child with a break. Let your child set a timer to alert them that their break is over. This eliminates power struggles and empowers children.
4. Encourage children to review work each night so that when it is time for a test they are not overloaded with information.
5. Use affirmations or positive statements like, “ I can do it.” Kids smile with this “auto-affirmer”. Use it for a break or when your child is discouraged or cranky. Examples of auto-affirmers
6. Set up an area in your home dedicated to homework and studying. An area clear of chaos makes it easier to focus and feel calm.
7. Teach children relaxation techniques. Take a deep breath in and say “Ahhhhh” to release anger and frustration. Stress management should be introduced during calm moments.
8. Have a healthy snack or even a meal before homework. It is difficult to concentrate and feel balanced when hungry or eating sugar. I actually served a full dinner at 3:30 when my kids got off the bus.
9. Brain breaks should be taken. Blow bubbles outside in the fresh air. Do jumping jacks, run, or have a good laugh. Exercising and deep breathing brings oxygen to your child’s brain and reduces stress.
10. Stay positive about and during homework. Your positive attitude is contagious.
Even with taking steps to alleviate stress, experts warn that difficult homework assignments and the pressure to complete multiple projects can cause anxiety, frustration, and even anger for kids. Homework that creates an anxiety-ridden child is defeating the overall goal of creating a well-rounded, balanced, successful child. Parents need to step in and get involved if they see this happening to their child. Be an advocate for you child. If they are overwhelmed by homework and it is affecting their quality of life, speak up. You child’s teacher will appreciate your honesty.
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.