Not long ago, it was enough to send children to school clean, well-fed and clothed. Nowadays both children and their parents may be getting stressed over homework, and depending on the child’s age this can be from one hour a week to four and-a half-hours per day. Here are some ideas to help you manage your child’s homework stress.
Related article: No Homework?
How much homework is ideal?
British Government guidelines for primary school children’s homework recommend one hour per week for Grade 1 and 2; 1.5 hours a week for Grade 3 and 4 and 30 minutes a day for Grade 5 and 6.
Young children nowadays are burdened by too much homework that stresses them. They shouldn’t be spending all evening struggling with sums or spelling. Getting out and playing with friends after school develops their communication skills and ensures they are fresh for school next morning. Children are naturally inquisitive, creative and hungry for knowledge – so reading is excellent because it allows them to explore the world.
Should parents help?
Parents can help by using homework to develop their child’s organisational skills and sense of responsibility.
Parents should refrain from completing homework and liaise with the school if they think that their child has been set too heavy a load to get the balance right. You can also praise and encourage your child to boost their confidence and gauge their needs by listening and discussing.
Set aside a regular time and a designated homework area and turn off distractions, like the television.
Encourage your child to use the library or internet to develop their research skills and offer small rewards for well-done homework.
Children are more pressured to perform now than 20 years ago when fewer people went to university and there was less competition for jobs.
But finding a university spot is much harder now, with applications up by nearly 10 per cent, thought to be triggered by youth unemployment.
‘Spending too much time struggling with homework can harm your child’s health, worrying about whether they can do it can make them nervous, anxious and lacking in confidence, and deprives them of a proper rest after school,’ says Dr Donaldson.
Remember, not everyone is going to be academically gifted and some children who are being pressured, but not achieving good exam results, could be encouraged to think about interesting vocational qualifications and more practical careers.
Encourage your child to read
Getting kids reading is a great way for them to learn without the pressures of formalised homework. Encourage your children to read to develop their imaginations, transcend their experience and learn the subtleties of language. Make sure that there are lots of books around. Homework is just a small part of a child’s development and learning by memory is no help whatsoever.
Creating exciting projects at home is another way to inspire kids’ imaginations.
Limit time online
A recent Swedish survey of more than 4,100 men and women, aged 20 to 24, found that those spending too much time online, on mobiles, or playing video games were at greater risk of stress – important as the average teenager spends 31 hours a week ‘surfing’ the web.
This has created a significant link between computers and mental disorders.
Try to sway your child to do the following.
- Avoid focusing on a screen for too long because this can cause headaches, depression, eye strain, dryness and damage.
- Watch out for Facebook ‘addiction’. The average user spends 75 minutes a day on the social networking site.
- Beware of going online late at night because this may cause sleep loss and affect your performance at school or work the next day.
- Stay active. People who overuse the internet tend to neglect exercise, letting their weight creep up. Get unplugged to interact with friends in person.
Found on: www.netdoctor.co.uk