Did you know that for many kids it takes effort and energy to HOLD STILL and FOCUS? Here are some tips for homework survival offered by Dr. Rebecca Jackson, VP of Programs and Outcomes and Board Certified Cognitive Specialist for Brain Balance.
The younger kids are developmentally, the harder it is to control their bodies, behaviors, and even thoughts and focus. The following strategies can be used to understand what your child’s homework behaviors are telling you, and tips for homework survival.
Upsets, shutdowns or meltdowns:
This can be a sign that the subject matter is too hard. No one likes to do something they don’t feel good about doing. If your child is struggling in a subject, or feeling lost or overwhelmed, the last thing they want to do is to be reminded of what they don’t know or don’t feel good at doing. To avoid the uncomfortable feeling kids may pull out all the stops and push you to over the edge of your patience!
We all tend to avoid tasks that require thought and focus, especially if we’re tired or hungry! Procrastination may be a sign that your child’s energy and focus reserves are running low. That makes it harder to buckle down and focus. To counter this, provide a healthy snack after school to help replenish the fuel needed to work (proteins and healthy fats). Sitting with your child to help them get started can help to minimize the time it takes to begin as well. Especially while waiting for the 20 minutes it takes for the protein to kick in as a fuel source.
The child that pays close attention to detail and cringes at the need to erase or cross something out can also experience heightened anxiety when facing a task. The worry that the task won’t be perfect in content or in look, can increase the stress surrounding that task. Acknowledging your child’s concern as real.
Motivate your child based on age; the younger they are developmentally, the more instantaneous the reward or gratification should be to help them stay on track. The younger child could earn playing a favorite game with a parent as soon as they finish. Older children could be working towards a privilege, like time with a friend at the end of the week.