When you’re helping a stressed-out child complete a homework assignment in a rush the night before the deadline, you may wish you’d thought about teaching them time management before! However, it’s never too early or too late to begin. These handy tips will help you get started.
Use A Planner – Or Several!
Some schools issue diaries for recording your child’s homework; others rely on them to keep their own records. Whichever method your school uses, though, you can be sure they don’t take account of family life! Try introducing both a monthly and a weekly calendar at home. Record all appointments on the monthly planner – from ad hoc ones such as dentist appointments and relatives’ birthday parties to ongoing commitments like out-of-school sports activities and tutoring sessions. You and your child then have an overview of the month to hand. Each week, copy that week’s events onto a seven-day planner so you can both see at a glance what’s coming up. Check allocated homework with your child nightly, breaking it down into chunks and planning in study sessions leading up to the submission deadline. This helps ensure everything isn’t left until the last minute, when your child may already have an activity or other homework planned.
Discourage your child from over-committing to activities. Recreation and sports outside school are huge positives, both in terms of socialisation and relaxation. However, it’s best to avoid a situation where activities are planned for every night of the week and weekends are full too. Time to chill and wind down is important too.
Clear A Space
Make sure your child has a dedicated space to work, one that will encourage productivity. Some can work with music in the background, others will work better in silence. But environments like the family’s kitchen/diner where there may be constant hustle, bustle and interruptions to their focus are unlikely to enhance effective study. Is there space for a desk in their room or another quiet area in the home where they can do their homework?
Set Out The Boundaries
Most teachers agree one of the most critical factors for success for students is initiating a healthy homework routine. Your school will advise on the amount of homework each year group should expect to have each evening. Discuss with your child when that time is best set aside: as soon as they return from school or after dinner? Plan in 15 minute breaks every hour. Aim to stick to the schedule. If homework frequently overruns its allocated slot, it’s time to re-evaluate: what distractions are there? Does your child require additional support in a subject area?
Map Out Your Mornings
One of the most frustrating times for parents is school mornings, when everything seems to go missing and no-one is in a particularly co-operative mood! Make a checklist of what needs to be done and set aside time the night before with your child to lay out school clothes, pack their school bag for the following day and plan their lunches. You can even mark PE days on your weekly planner to ensure that gets sent in on the right day too!
If you feel your child needs help with study skills and managing time when carrying out allotted tasks, why not consider tutoring? It could be the boost to their time management skills that they need.