Just say the word homework to most adolescents or parents and watch their whole mood change as every cell of their mind and body heads into stress mode. Reducing homework stress can turn homework into a positive experience that teaches your child lifelong skills. When homework is too time consuming it can have a negative impact on your entire family. Stress can get in the way of a child’s ability to learn and retain information. Take a good look at your child’s homework routine. If your child ends up crying, sleep deprived or quitting activities to have more time to complete assignments they may be experiencing stress overload.
Tips for Reducing Homework Stress
- Break it down. Set smaller goals to complete a portion of the assignment. Reward your child with a break. Let your child set a timer to alert them that their break is over. This eliminates power struggles and empowers children.
- Encourage children to review work each night so that when it is time for a test they are not overloaded with information.
- Use affirmations or positive statements like, “I can do it.” “I am relaxed and calm.” ” I am learning new things.”
- Set up an area in your home dedicated to homework and studying. An area clear of chaos makes it easier to focus and feel calm. Peace & calm can help children relax.
- Teach children relaxation techniques. Take a deep breath in and say “Ahhhhh” to release anger and frustration. Stress management should be introduced during calm moments so they can be implemented when needed.
- Have a healthy snack before homework. It is difficult to concentrate and feel balanced when hungry or eating junk food.
- Brain breaks should be taken. Don’t expect children to be able to sit still for long periods of time. Let them move as needed. Blow bubbles outside in the fresh air. Do exercises, run, or have a good laugh. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your child’s brain and reduces stress.
- Stay positive about and during homework. Children listen and internalise negative statements and movements. A positive hopeful attitude is contagious. If you believe they can do it…they will believe they can do it.
- Help your child understand directions, organise, and create a time management plan. Many children waste time by doing the homework incorrectly because they did not understand the directions. Going over them ahead of time saves time and frustration.
- Ask your children what type of music helps them to feel more relaxed when they work. Some children need complete quiet and some do better with background noise. Let them learn what works best for them.