Homework Happy

What you can do to encourage healthy study habits

By By Parent Coach Lesli Gibbs, August 26, 2010

It’s back to school time, which means it’s also back to homework time!  Give your children a head start by encouraging healthy homework and study habits.  Here are a few things you can do for them:

1.  It’s been a long day, so give them a break before it’s time to jump back into schoolwork.  Give your child a specific amount of time to relax, but make sure they know when the time is up, it’s time to work.  Use a timer if need be!
2.    Make sure they have healthy fuel.  Keep good snacks on hand so they can refuel from a busy day, without filling up on empty calories.  Dried fruit, baby carrots, veggies and hummus, apple slices, and bananas make great afterschool snacks.  
3.  Give your child a dedicated space to work.  If you can, make sure your child has a desk free from distractions to work.  If that’s not a possibility and the dining table is where the work needs to be done, do your best to minimize the distractions for them.
4.   Make sure your child has what he or she needs to complete their homework.  While you are shopping for school supplies, grab a few more for the house!  Pencils, pens, paper, scissors, glue, tape, and coloring instruments are some of the basics that are always needed at some point for homework.  Save yourself the mad hunt through the house by stocking up at the beginning of the school year.
5.  Limit the extras.  A child that is at some extracurricular activity 4 or 5 nights out of the week is going to be worn down and stressed.  Add homework to the list, and it simply ups the stress level.  Extras can be a great way to be active and learn new skills, but make sure it’s healthy for the child as well as the whole family.  Take a hard look at your calendar and determine what really matters to your family.  Cut out the things that are not important in the long run, and your whole family will be calmer and happier because of it.