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According to experts, students should have 10 minutes of homework for every grade level in school. So your fourth grader should spend about 40 minutes on homework each night. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include breaks, procrastination, or stalling, which often play a big part in evening homework. So how can you help your child complete his homework in a reasonable amount of time? Ideally, your child has already completed his homework when you get home from work. But, for parents of less-than-motivated students, some tips:
- Make homework the first priority. Students should complete homework immediately upon getting home from school. If this doesn’t happen because an adult isn’t available to supervise, make it your priority when you get home from work. Nothing’s worse than realizing, at bedtime, that your child still has homework left undone.
- Set up a study area with few distractions, but where you can still supervise. This allows your child to work independently, knowing you are available and watching. If the study area is in the kitchen, you can even start dinner while your child is working!
- Set boundaries and stick to them. Do not allow television, telephone, radios, and snacks to be on or available during homework time. Further, do not allow your child to take repeated breaks or engage in conversations outside of homework questions.
- For reading homework, have your child read aloud. Not only is your child completing homework, but you can also hear how he is progressing and offer assistance. Plus, you can clean up or work on dinner while listening.
- Complete reading logs at bedtime. Reading together is a great way to end your day, plus you can read bedtime stories and finish this important homework assignment at the same time!
- Come up with a routine and stick with it. Most children thrive on routines because they know what to expect. If your child fights the homework battle as you are establishing this routine, stick it out. Once he sees you are serious, he likely will work hard without argument.
If these strategies don’t help reduce the power struggle that homework sometimes becomes, talk to your child’s teacher. She may be able to help you with ideas that are individually tailored for your child’s success. If this doesn’t help, see what other teachers have to say. Or, research other ideas to help motivate your child to complete his homework, such as those found on Education World. Most importantly, remember that homework is not busy work. It is an extension of your child’s classroom and is vital to his educational success.
Life is full of distractions. Whether it is just a busy schedule or extracurricular activities, electronics, family time, or even a favorite television show, these activities can keep students from getting the rest they need to be successful at school. Sleep deprivation is a serious yet often overlooked problem for today’s students. By following a few simple suggestions, parents can help their children get the sleep they need to be successful students.
Beginning at an early age, parents can help their child create healthy sleeping habits and routines that will continue throughout his/her lifetime. Making sure that a child has a consistent sleep schedule is extremely important. A child’s bedtime and wake up time should be around the same time whether or not it is a school night. Having a consistent wake up time allows the body to build up adequate sleep pressure by the evening to help a child fall asleep quickly and at an appropriate time at night.
Another way to create a healthy sleeping habit is to create an atmosphere conducive to sleeping. A child’s bedroom should be a place of relaxation and quiet. His or her bedroom should also be a place of positive feelings. It is strongly encouraged not to use the bedroom as a place of punishment or confinement but rather a place of encouragement, positive feelings, and security. The child may need a small nightlight or even a blanket or a stuffed animal to give him/her that sense of security, but a television should never be in a child’s bedroom. Additionally, the use of such simple elements as color choices, the temperature, or comfortable bedding can create a relaxing atmosphere.
There are several signs that children may exhibit if they are not getting an efficient amount of sleep. Parents need to be aware of their child’s mood; sleep deprivation can cause a child to be irritable, moody, and even cranky. Because the child is not getting enough sleep, he or she may not be able to control his/her mood, leading to frustration or becoming upset more quickly and easily. Other behavior, such as noncompliance and hyperactivity may also be an indicator of sleep deprivation. Not only will a child’s mood and behavior be affected by inefficient sleep, but his cognitive ability will also be affected. A child who is sleep deprived will have increased difficulty with his attention, memory, and creativity; all of which are important aspects of being successful at school.
Being a child is truly a fun and exciting time; it is also a time of learning and creating life-long habits. Parents have the ability to help their child develop healthy sleeping habits that will aid them during their school and professional careers. By being aware of their child’s sleeping atmosphere and the behaviors their child is exhibiting, parents can help their children avoid sleep deprivation and be successful students.