Parent: "What can I do to help my child not cry over homework?'
Me: "How much time is she spending on it?"
Parent: "About three hours.'
Me: "What grade did you say your child was in?" I thought I might have her daughter confused with another child.
Parent: "First grade."
Aggggggg! First graders should not have three hours of homework. At the very most they should have half an hour. They are young children who have been at school all day. Many have had a few hours of daycare added on to the school day. Quiet, shy children have had to deal with noise and confusion. Loud, active children they have had to work with sitting still and trying to be quiet. Just like adults, children need to unwind in a way that works for them. If your child appears to be spending too much time on homework think about the following:
- Is your child hungry?
- Does your child need to run off some kid energy? Fifteen minutes of exercise might make sitting down for homework easier.
- Does your child need a movement break while doing homework? For a child under 10 a quick stretch or walk around the table might make it easier to move on to the next subject.
- Does you child have a quiet place to do her homework? Is the TV on in the background, are siblings playing in the room, or are you talking on the phone? Does you child have everything they need at the place they are doing their homework? Having pencils, paper, rulers, and other tools close by helps your child become more organized, and keeps you from driving to the store at the last minutes looking for poster board.
- Is your child tired? Work done after bedtime is usually work done poorly.
- Is the work too hard? I am not talking about a specific child not understanding an assignment. I am talking about a concept that is too difficult for a child. In my next post I will write about children's cognitive development, and how schools are ignoring it when creating curriculum.