When you dread the daily “homework hour” more than your infant’s “witching hour,” it is time for these homework tips for parents with tired kids!
The best homework tips for parents
I glance at my calendar, count the days and my heart sinks a bit. In a few short weeks, the kids will be back at school. After a long summer, I do long to get our family in a daily routine, but I will miss the freedom to sleep in, have family movie nights in the middle of the week, and play in the pool after dinner.
Before we know it, school is back in session with its strict bedtime hours, lunches to pack, uniforms to wear, and the dreaded homework hour!
In many homes across the world, “homework hour” is feared as much as the “witching hour” infants go through at the end of the day. During homework-hour you may experience a battle of the strongest wills, tired parents trying to wrap their tired minds around common core math, exhausted and over-stimulated kids longing for downtime.
After dealing with homework for the past six years, we have our daily after-school routine down to a science. The kids now know what to expect when they come home from school and I have learned to keep my calendar clear during the two-hour window between school pick-ups and dinner. Those two hours are dedicated to transitioning the kids from school mode to home mode.
However, I remember from previous years, that every back-to-school season brings its own set of challenges and adjustments. Once we are a few weeks into the routine, things run smoothly. This year, we have a 5th grader, 3rd grader, and kindergartener – and I plan on doing “homeschool preschool” with the littlest (- but more about his adventures later.)
As a mom of many, here are:
My best homework tips for parents with tired kids!
- Dedicate a space to do homework. Preferably outside of TV viewing and too many other distractions.
- Our kids sit at our kitchen table, which over the years has become our homework/ craft table. When school’s in session, I keep it clutter-free.
- Keep a fully stocked homework station with school supplies, paper, math aids (cubes, counters, rulers etc.) near the homework space.
- Set up a routine that works with your family’s schedule, your children’s energy level, and attention span, modify as needed.
- It takes a few weeks for everyone to get into a routine of being back in school. Once you have adjusted to getting up early and the new bedtimes, assess your homework routine to see if any changes are necessary.
- (Gauge by the number of meltdowns per kid per hour… and you will quickly see whether or not your current routine is working! – Remember to account for your own meltdowns too… ha ha ha).
- When your kids get home from school, let them decompress for a few minutes (15 – 30 minutes).
- After having school-aged kids for six years, I have learned that THIS is what our kids need. Your family dynamics and daily routine may be different.
- Our kids take showers and put on clean clothes AS SOON as they walk through the door. (Sports uniforms if they have practice later that night.)
- Benefits from this genius move:
- It cuts down on your family’s germ exposure from the school-aged kids being around snotty noses all day. The kids washing their hair and bodies rinses off any germs and putting on clean clothes removes another germ-filled element. (I am a germo-phob, in case you couldn’t tell).
- It speeds up their bedtime routine later since the daily shower is already done.
- It resets their mood after a long day at school. After a particularly long day, they take a well-deserved bath.
- Give the kids a quick healthy snack and a drink. (This isn’t something that will spoil their appetite for dinner.)
- The kids empty their backpacks, put their lunch boxes away, pull out homework, flyers, and papers for parents’ signatures.
- Help your child prioritize homework tasks and schedule larger projects.
- This is a skill that needs to be taught, but one that will be with them for the rest of their lives.
- As the kids enter the higher grades, prioritizing and scheduling are necessary skills for them to master, with or without your help.
- Plan on helping your child with this task until they are in middle school.
- Break big assignments into small (manageable) tasks and write the deadlines in a daily planner.
- Do the homework!
- Start with the hardest first, while their mind is fresh.
- For our kids, the following order works best: math, science, writing, and then reading. If they have any computer work, we do that relatively early, while their concentration is strong.
- Create homework rules for the family: “No electronics or TV until homework is complete.” Or whatever works for your family.
- Take short 5 – 10 minute breaks for every 30 – 45 minutes spent concentrating.
- We have our kids practice their soccer skills in the backyard during these quick breaks.
- They need a quick burst of physical activity to get “the wiggles” out of their bodies and the blood flowing.
- Save their daily reading time for last.
- Some days, read a book to your child in the upper range of their skill level – this is a “special treat” to our kids, one they all look forward to.
- While the “big kids” do homework, the little (non-school age kids) play quietly with puzzles, LEGO DUPLO, coloring or other non-electronic toys.
This is how we make it through the daily “homework hour” with minimal tears and frustration (mine or the kids’). I have to admit that I am nervous about having three school-aged kids this year, but as past years have shown me, the more relaxed I am, the more relaxed the kids are. I trust that our well-established homework routine is fully scalable and works as well for one kid, as it does for two, three, or even four school-aged kids.