Posted on: September 26, 2019


Looking for an after-school routine that prioritizes homework within a packed schedule? Learn how to prepare the right environment, implement systems that give kids space to think, and establish a next day prep routine. Follow these five steps for homework success – with less stress!:

  1. Determine the Baseline – Start by looking at school expectations. Homework will vary by grade level, teacher style, and type of work. It could be reading, drill and practice, or project-oriented. Be prepared to accommodate the different types. Next, chart out activities that occur outside of school hours. Look for patterns and uncover consistent blocks of time for homework. If there are not enough hours to complete the homework load given the number of conflicts, it might be time to reconsider priorities.
  2. Designate Space – A clear, well-lit surface with appropriate seating can take different forms. Traditionally, this means a desk in the child’s room with a chair and a lamp. It could also mean a corner of the couch curled up with a laptop! My daughter took over the dining room table during her high school years. Encourage kids to consider what they prefer – free from noise or in the middle of the action. The goal is to provide an area your kids can depend on.
  3. Respect the Routine – Once a homework time and space have been established, teach your children to respect it! Avoid running extra errands that might interfere with homework time. Keep unnecessary clutter away from the homework zone. Make sure materials are easy to access. Talk to your kids about the expected load and the benefits for completing it. Watch your tone and consider if you are giving the impression that homework is an unpleasant chore.
  4. Natural Area (do not mow) – Heard the term “Helicopter parent?” It refers to a parenting style where parents become over involved – seeming to “hover” over their children to oversee more than is necessary. A newer term has evolved, that of the “Snowplow,” or “Lawnmower” parent. This refers to a parent who seems to run along in front of the child, “mowing” obstacles out of the way. While children may need homework help from parents, it is important they be allowed to struggle and develop resilience. In the homework space, this means staying out of the way – even if a few dandelions start to grow. On the occasions you must help with homework, consider yourself a “guide on the side” and resist the urge to grab the handle to mow down the weeds to get it finished faster.
  5. Load the backpack – The final step to homework success is completing the routine. Don’t consider homework finished until it is in the backpack ready for retrieval at school. Teaching your child to prepare the backpack after homework on Sunday through Thursday nights is an easy habit to achieve and soon becomes second nature. Having the backpack prepared the night before reduces morning stress and helps make sure completed homework makes it to school!