Imagine your child being excited to do homework! The word “homework” can cause anxiety in children and adults. The thought of having to assist my elementary school children with today’s math homework causes me, as the parent, anxiety. Kitchen tables, living room desk spaces, and small home offices can all be a productive space for the adults in our homes to complete tasks, but are they the best places for our children to complete homework? Simply setting aside homework time in the evening is the first step in creating lifelong homework habits.
Promoting a space in your home free of distractions to inspire and facilitate creative thinking is easier than you might think. Utilizing some of the following best practices can ensure a positive, productive and mindful homework routine.
Start by establishing the best space in your home. Ask your child where they would like to do homework. Including your child in designating this special location allows for some teachable moments on why the couch might not be the best homework space in the home. Once you have found this space, commit to it and communicate with your family your intentions on designating this space for homework.
Once you have established a space, declutter. Ensure your space is free and clear of unnecessary clutter. The kitchen table may be the gathering point for meals, but during homework time, ensure the space is clear of clutter.
Personalize the space during homework time. Have your child pick out one or two items that inspire them. Maybe it’s a picture or a stuffed animal. Choose something that inspires joy and happiness in them. Allowing them to pick a toy could become a distraction, so choose wisely.
Stay organized with homework essentials. If your child requires a laptop or tablet to complete homework like so many children do these days, ensure the space has an outlet nearby to charge the device. Keep pencils, erasers, rulers, a calculator, and note paper handy. So often we purchase these supplies for school but forget to have them handy at home. Keeping a “homework box” organized and available will keep your child organized when it’s time to sit down and work on homework.
Recognize that homework, even for an elementary school child, can be stressful. This is especially true if your child has any learning challenges. As you begin to establish a routine, you will find it easier to identify and recognize homework stress and allow the child space to take a brain break.
The success of homework time can depend on how we as adults approach and monitor this important time in our child’s evening. Allowing ourselves to be free of distractions, like cell phones and tablets, will model the behavior we are working to instill in our children. Approaching homework time with our children like we approach our adult yoga practice, with clear intention, dedication, patience, and peace will assist in developing a routine in our homes and setting our families up for success. What begins as an opportunity to better organize our evenings with our family can blossom into memorable moments spent with our children, teaching them the importance of this quiet time of learning and reflecting.
It is also important to give our children space to express moments of frustration, anxiety, joy, and excitement. This is not to say every night will be full of beautiful Kodak Moments successfully completing geometry homework. Just as practicing yoga as a family can help to promote a healthy lifestyle, creating a mindful homework routine can help to promote a healthy mind. Now imagine for a moment your child is not only excited about homework, but excited about eating brussels sprouts!
To continue the conversation about homework stress and how to tame it, listen to our Mindful Conversations with KAY podcast and read further with the KAY blog: Brain Breaks and Calm Kits and Dealing with Homework Tension.
Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and beyond! KAY even offers a 6-hour workshop designed to teach school educators and homeschool families how to bring yoga and meditation right into their classrooms (EduKAY) and an online course specifically for families to incorporate these practices in their family’s routine (KAY in the Home)