As many students start their second semester, it's important that they finish the school year on a high note. This may mean studying more and altering their homework routine. While some kids work best after school, others may have more focus after a playdate. Here, real moms share their opinion on the optimal homework time.
Right After School
Many moms find that the best time for kids to do homework is directly after school, before distractions set in. As Lori C. shares, "It's a lot easier than pulling them away from the TV or a video game once they've started playing." Janet T. also recommends this routine: "I have my kids do it directly after school. I feel that by doing this I am instilling the 'work first, play second' mentality. I also believe that I am teaching them to be responsible and not procrastinate."
After a Play Break
Other moms find that allowing kids a postschool break for a little play before settling them down to do homework works well, as it helps them burn off bottled-up energy. As Pam C. notes, the wane of daylight may be another reason to consider a play break before homework time. "Once it starts getting dark early, I do let her go out to play first, only because there is limited daylight playtime, and she's not allowed out after dark."
Around Dinner Time
Many moms find that a before-dinner homework routine is best. "We tried waiting until after dinner, but then the homework seems to take twice as long, thus bedtime gets later and later," says Kim H.
But not everyone finds this to be an issue, and many have their kids buckle down for homework right after eating. "What works best for us is to do it later," Theresa P. says. "After getting off the bus, none are ready to sit down and concentrate. I let them have a snack, then go play to burn off their energy, have dinner, then it's homework time." Diane D. agrees. "It's just like when an adult gets home from work, they want to unwind a bit before going out to mow the lawn. Let 'em relax a bit too! School is work as well, they just do not get paid. Their brains needs to reboot, and a snack and play time will help. I say after dinner is the best bet."
Thinking of changing your child's routine? Test out each method for a few days, then switch to something new. Once your child finds a time that works best for them, make sure they stick to it!
What's your child's homework routine?
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WASHINGTON — Kids in Maryland and D.C. are back in school this week; many students in Northern Virginia return next week. So it’s a good time to get the homework habit right.
“There are really five times kids can do homework: right after school; after about a 30-minute break; before dinner; after dinner; or right before bed,” says Ann Dolin, a former Fairfax County teacher and founder of Educational Connections Tutoring.
Some teachers pile on homework these days, especially for kids in 6th grade and higher. To get it all done, a little planning may be in order. Dolin says she believes the best homework time for elementary school students is a bit after school.
“Elementary students usually need some downtime after they return home from school or an extra-curricular activity,” Dolin says. She recommends a homework start time for elementary students about 30 minutes after getting home.
It may be harder to set an exact homework start time for adolescents.
“For older students, consider having the family policy that homework starts before dinner. This step, in itself, will greatly reduce late-night stress,” Dolin says.
Parents should help students with school projects. Dolin says the younger the child, the more involved the parents have to be. But, she says, it should be the student’s project — not the parents’.
“In general, a parent’s pencil should never touch the paper,” Dolin says.
Parents can lay the groundwork — perhaps have the child write out the steps that the project requires — and parents can prod the child to get the project done.
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