Six Tips for Helping Kids with Homework or Distance Learning

I hear so many complaints right now from parents trying to help their children with distance learning. It's like the typical homework battles they had before only on steroids.

Following are six tips to help with the homework/schoolwork battles. It really doesn't have to be a war!!

1. Set clear time limits and use a timer. For instance, if an assignment needs to be done in twenty minutes, set the timer and make sure there are consequences for finishing and not finishing. Be sure to follow through no matter how cute, tired, or frustrated your child might be.

2. Let your child know when breaks are and how long they will last. Be firm on this, as it's easy to get a little work done while there is a break and let them slip away. Once this pattern starts, it's hard to rein them in again without fits and battles.

3. Offer visual aids to help your child know how the day will be spent. You can use recipe cards and write out the schedule with markers and put in front of your child. Pull a recipe card away after each session is finished. This really helps with questions like, "When will we be done?" or "How long until recess?" Visual timers can be a real help in this department, too. There are free apps you can get to put on your phone.

4. Don't give in to negotiations with your child over extra breaks, snacks, shorter assignments, etc. If your child is having a real problem, of course you need to adjust, but don't succumb to negotiations or that's all you'll be doing. Hold firm!

5. Have clear consequences for behavior, assignments, fits, or battles. For instance, let your child know that you expect him/her to finish one math worksheet within thirty minutes without any fits, negotiations or problems. If your child starts fussing about the math being too much then five minutes of television or video game time is taken away.

6. Rewards are equally important. Young children and kids with learning issues usually have no idea why they are doing specific academic activities, so they need an extrinsic reward to help them through it. You can use a bag of cheap toys, more screen time, extra family time, an ice cream, or anything your child might enjoy. Just be sure to be specific, such as saying all assignments have to be finished each day without any problems and then you can get into the prize bag.

Kids want to do well, but sometimes they just need a little extra guidance and a system that helps them succeed!