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How To Make Homework Fun In Elementary School

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by Nicki Sebastian

While several studies have found that homework isn’t super beneficial for young kids (in fact, some argue it’s doing more harm than good), the number of elementary school students being assigned homework has increased over the last few decades. Depending on the policy of your kid’s school, you might be faced with a tiny mountain of homework each night or none at all. For those of you who fall into the former camp, we’ve compiled a list of tips for making homework fun in elementary school, thanks to moms we know who’ve been there. Feel free to add your own advice in the comments!

1. Don’t discount the power of freshly sharpened pencils and cool erasers.

2. Tone is so important. Act like you’re learning along with them and try your best to not have an impatient tone. Also, try leveling the playing field by letting your kid know that you, too, struggled with homework as a child. It can make them more receptive to your help.

3. Try having a “homework picnic,” with a blanket spread out on the floor, topped with trays and a couple bowls of special snacks.

4. Change up the homework atmosphere by doing it at a cafe or at the local library. Bring along some games, like Old Maid or Feed The Kitty, to play when homework is done or for a break in the middle if someone is frustrated.

5. Give your kids some time to decompress when they come home from school. Let them play, read, draw, or otherwise goof off before asking them to finish their homework. Also, make sure they have a little food in their tummies before you begin.

6. Have a fun goal to reach for after homework is complete—shooting hoops, playing a board game, whatever keeps your little motivated.

7. Recruit an older neighbor, babysitter, tutor, family friend, or after-care program to help out with homework duty, mix things up, and prevent a nightly parental power struggle.

8. Set a timer and have your kid work until it goes off, to avoid getting tired and cranky. He can do the rest in the morning.

9. On that note, be flexible on timing. Some parents shoot for completing homework before dinner, others after the kid has something in his stomach. If the before-dinner time slot is pushing it, take a break, eat some food, do bath time, and then circle back. Sometimes waking up a little earlier in the morning and doing homework then can be easier on a well-rested mind.

10. Have your little one help create a Homework/Routine Clock, as seen on Pinterest.

11. Ask them how they think they should solve the homework problem before tackling it. Chances are they are stuck on a simple overlooked step and it’s easier to point that out than to approach the problem in your way and confuse them.

12. For older kids who need it, look into noise-canceling headphones or listening to classical music to help them focus/drown out the sound of noisy siblings.

13. If the word “homework” is getting your kids down, change it! Talking about “reviewing” what they learned in school that day (or using some other terminology) might help take the sting out of it.

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