Mistakes to avoid when helping your kids with homework

Even the best intentions can sometimes backfire. It’s no secret that most kids could use a helping hand when it comes to homework, but there are right and wrong ways to give them a boost. We share some of the biggest homework helper mistakes to avoid.

Unhappy mother and daughter working on homework

1

Hovering

Constantly walking over to your child’s study area or into their room when they’re doing homework when they haven’t asked for help can hinder their productivity. Unless they ask, there is no need to stand over your child while they work. Doing so can make it hard for them to concentrate or make kids feel like they’re being judged. Rather than hover, check in once during a homework session so your child knows you’re available, but otherwise, allow them to come to you on their own.

2

Doing the work for them

While it might be tempting to answer homework problems for your child or even participate in a project to the point of doing a significant bulk of the work, your child won’t benefit from that kind of help. You’re there to guide your child to the right answers and to offer suggestions and support, but never to take over for them no matter how much difficulty they’re having with a particular assignment. Resist the urge to take over — your child can’t learn when you do everything for them. If your child is having a really hard time with a certain subject, consider hiring a tutor, or talk to your child’s teacher if the difficulties concern you.

3

Putting pressure on them

Support is one thing, but putting pressure on your child to get good grades can do more harm than good when it comes to their performance. Of course you want your kids to do well and make the most of their education, but making them feel like your love and approval will only come if they come home with top marks is a recipe for low self-esteem, and there’s a chance the pressure might make them do worse rather than better. Avoid telling your child they “have to” get top marks or be perfect, and instead, be an encouraging parent.

4

Not enforcing a homework routine

If homework is just something you assume your kids are doing or you allow them to make socializing and playing video games a priority over homework, you aren’t doing them any favours. While you don’t want to be a drill sergeant, you also don’t want homework to be seen as an optional activity. Pick a time that works for your child, and make sure homework gets done before any entertainment is allowed.

5

Enforcing a routine that doesn’t work

Some kids are better at getting homework done right after school, while others get more done after dinner. If the homework routine you’re currently trying to enforce is a struggle, ask yourself why. Talk to your child about why they are having trouble focusing or getting things done, and work together to come up with a routine in which they can excel at homework.

Tell us

How do you keep homework time on track in your house? Share in the comments below!

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