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How to make homework fun for kids

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Eliminate homework hassles

Homework and fun are two words that kids never expect to see in the same sentence. Homework doesn't always have to be a hassle, though. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make homework a breeze so you both can enjoy school nights without homework struggles.

Happy girl doing homework

1Make learning a game.

Regardless of the subject, try to turn completing homework into a game. For example, give math problems a visual spin with Skittles + M&Ms. (Bonus: You and your child don't have to eat them all, but an occasional one or two can help with learning subtraction.) Seeing the math problem come alive can be very beneficial for visual learners.

2Don't sequester your child during study time.

Shouting a strict "Go to your room and don't come out until your homework is finished!" sounds a lot like a punishment rather than a normal part of your child's school experience. If your child prefers to work alone, set up desk space in his room with items that will help him concentrate. Check on him sporadically during homework time to see if he needs a hand or a quick break. If your child needs your assistance to handle his homework, set up a space where you can be available to him while completing your own nightly chores (i.e., doing dinner dishes, packing school lunches, etc.).

3Reading should be an adventure.

Reading to your child is such an important part of developing early learning skills. Even if you haven't been consistent about reading with your child, it's never too late to start. Simply having the confidence to read (and understand!) what their homework demands can make homework less of a burden for your children. For homework in reading, read together or ask your child to read aloud to you. Ask questions throughout the course of the chapter or book: "Why do you think XYZ character felt or acted that way?" Engage your child in the material to ensure that she's absorbing what she's reading.

4Start a study group.

If your child works best in a group setting, invite a few of her friends over for a study session. Working together, bouncing ideas off each other and talking out solutions to homework issues with friends makes homework more fun for your kids. Just be sure that your kids are actually getting their homework done rather than using study sessions to gossip about school.

5Enlist help.

If homework is a constant hassle, the material may not be adding up for your child. Talk to his teacher to make sure he's on track; check to see how he handles classroom assignments. If it doesn't match up with what's happening at home, talk to him to find out what's distracting him. If you find that he's struggling in the classroom as well as at home, enlist the help of a tutor. Choose one your child relates and looks up to (an older neighborhood kid, for example). Alternatively, pick a tutoring program that incorporates fun in the learning process.

Not every child does her homework in the exact same way. Some work best alone, while others thrive in groups. Some find that soft music helps them concentrate on after-school assignments. Allow your child to work in the environment that best suits his learning style.

More back to school tips

5 Tips for beating back-to-school blues
Secrets of smooth school mornings
Can moms make a difference in schools?

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