Parents often think to themselves why don’t they just do their homework and get it out of the way – for some students it isn’t that easy. Sometimes getting started can be the hard part.
- Start homework sooner than later – students tend to waste time from 3-6pm most days. To be more productive it is useful to start homework within 1 hour of finishing school where possible. They are still alert at this time, particularly after having a good snack too. This is much easier to do it or at least make a start than having to sit down and start after dinner. This might not always be possible with after school activities and sport but worth putting into place on days when it can be.
- Have a plan – having a plan means students are more likely to take action, know what they need to do and make a start. It’s important that the plan is manageable and actionable. It doesn’t have to be very detailed and can just be written down on a scrap piece of paper or even a post it note as to what they’d like to achieve today and allocate an estimated time they think it will take. Through the action of breaking down activities into smaller time segments students develop a clearer sense of how to prioritise, focus, initiate, transition and complete their daily responsibilities.
- Have a reward or treat in mind – for some students this can really motivate them to get their homework done. One way is for students to challenge themselves to do their homework before a certain time. Another is to just work and get it done (without rushing through and making sure it is their best work). Following the completion of homework they then get time to do something they like – ie catch up with friends, play video games, spend time on social media.
- Eliminate distractions – students, like most of us, do better if they only focus on one thing at a time. Many students though when doing homework are constantly interrupted and distracted often by their phones, device they might be using and social media. It is best if students can recognise that this happens and remove the distractions where possible or otherwise seek assistance from parents to assist them. If students do get distracted it can take quite a bit of effort to get back to where they were with their focus and attention and therefore it increases the time it takes to complete homework. Also a students learning is not going to be as great in terms of what they remember if they keep getting distracted.
- Use a timer – sometimes students can struggle to get started and using a timer can help. One technique that often assists students is to work for 20 minutes and then have a on 5 minute break. I often refer to this as the 20 minute/5 minute techninque and others may know it as the Pomodoro technique. Some students may need to continue using this technique and others may just need it to get started. Another option is to get them to challenge themselves to compete their homework before the timer goes off – naturally they have planned out first before they started as to how long a piece of work should take.
- Get enough sleep – this is such an important thing for students and their brain needs it. This can be challenging as many students, particularly teens don’t recognise they actually need this and that is good for them. They should try to set themselves a ‘bed time’ and follow a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. By getting enough sleep students are more likely to cope with all their academic and extra curricula activities.
By following all or some of these tips students are more likely to take control of their homework rather than it taking control of them and leading to an increase in stress and anxiety.
For further assistance in assisting you and your child with their studies, their organisation or time management (or lack of these skills) please get in touch.
There are answers!