No more need for monsters under the bed – just let them disguise themselves as math problems and book reports, and Monstropolis will be in scream power for the duration of the school year. The power of the collective wails of frustrated students – and parents – can only come from that dreaded nightly terror: homework.

So what’s a normal evening supposed to be like? How much time should be spent on homework, and how independent should a child be with it?

There are many suggestions out there for helping deal with homework – some of which may contradict each other. That’s because different approaches work for different kids. Be prepared to try things and toss out things. The important thing is to find what works for your child.

Some options:

  • Set a specific time to do homework.
    • Right after school? This option leaves the child free from the burden for the later part of the evening just before bed.


    • Allow a set amount of time to play before starting on the work, giving your child a chance to unwind from the stress of school.


    • Break it up and work a certain amount of time before dinner, then pick up at a certain time after the meal.


  • Work with your child
    • Sit beside your child and encourage him to tell you how he’s thinking about the work. This lets you know where he is struggling and lets him know you are willing to listen and help.


    • Stay in the same room, but don’t hover over your child. Be available to answer questions, but keep yourself occupied doing something else, leaving the child to try to work independently.


    • Stay out of the room most of the time. Check in at regular intervals to make sure your child is still on task, but don’t become the “Homework Police.” It motivates some children to have something to show when the adult comes back into the room, and it is important to let your child know you are available if she asks for help.

Getting started may seem like a small part of the process, but it can be the most crucial piece.

Coming soon…. Battle 2: Staying focused

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