Do’s and Don’ts of Homework Battles

Is homework ruining your family evening time?

For a lot of folks, it’s a dreaded and lengthy battle each night.

Kids come home physically and mentally drained from their day at school. Parents are getting off of long days at work and equally exhausted.  Throw in some afterschool activities to juggle around and it can be a huge challenge finding time to get the homework in.

If your child struggles with focused attention or any other area of learning, the task of getting homework done can be especially painful.

How to Find the Homework – Home life Balance

The reality is that for most children, homework is an expectation of school.  It’s important for parents to be supportive of this while also fostering independence and being mindful of a balanced life for their child.

Your child’s whole self and wellbeing are important. Homework is important, but handling it doesn’t have to be such a struggle.  Below are a few ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ that can make the evening homework routine run smoother.

 Homework Do’s and Don’ts

DO:                Be supportive of your child’s teacher.  If there’s a problem, talk to the teacher.

DON’T:           Criticize the assignments or the teacher.

DO:                 Provide quiet study time in a well-lit place.   Play instrumental music in the background if that helps.

DON’T:           Have your child do homework on their bed, or with tablets, TVs or other distractions around.

DO:                  Ask your child’s teacher how much time homework should be taking.  Communicate if your child is struggling at home.

DON’T:          Spend all evening on homework or excessively worry about your child failing or getting ‘behind’.

DO:                 Chunk work into smaller steps and take breaks if your child struggles with work endurance or focus.

DON’T:          Go on homework marathons.

DO:                  Check work for accuracy, neatness, and completeness (as they get older, give them more independence with this).

DON’T:           Do your child’s homework for him/her.

DO:                  Give kids a chance to have a snack/play before they start working.

DON’T:           Wait until around bedtime to get started.

DO:                  Encourage effort.

DON’T:           Praise perfection (this discourages risk-taking).

DO:                  Enjoy family time and have dinner together.

DON’T:           Spend evenings yelling or fighting over homework.

DO:                  Encourage play and physical activity like sports or dance.

DON’T:           Overschedule your child or over emphasis extracurricular.

DO:                  Consider professional help (tutoring, mental health) if needed.

DON’T:          Just assume it will get better without interventions.

Know When To Seek Help

If your child is having excessive difficulty with homework, it could be a sign of something else going on like ADHD. Other common problems include learning disabilities (like dyslexia) or sensory processing issues. Or it could be that your child needs glasses.

Before you assume that your child is simply misbehaving, rule out all other possible causes. Talk to your pediatrician and your child’s teacher and evaluate the need for additional services if the problem persists.

Keeping Perspective

You want your child to do well in school.  But in the end, your relationship with your child and their positive self-image is much more important.  The dread and negativity that come along with homework battles are not good for your relationships at home, your mental health or for your child’s mental health.  Keep a school-home communication open and positive, set up the environment for success and do your best.

Your child is so much more than their academic self.  Find positives in the every day and highlight the strengths of your child.

Wishing you happy homes and peaceful evenings-


Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   Her group practice offers counseling servicescourses and classes to support families in getting on track and staying that way.