How to Keep Kids on Track With Homework

Mighty Mommy's 5 tips to help get your kids back on track if homework habits have gone astray.

Cheryl Butler
2-minute read

How to Keep Kids on Track With Homework

At the beginning of the new school year, we have every intention of setting strong guidelines for our kids so that they establish good study habits and disciplined homework routines.  

See also: How Routines Will Simplify Your Life

But by the time spring rolls around, we often find that those routines have gone slack.
Here are 5 tips to help get your kids back on track if homework habits have gone astray:

Tip #1: Set Study Expectations

Though some kids are self-starters and will get their homework done without any prodding, the majority need guidance.  If homework is a struggle, calmly take your child aside and let him know you want to help him succeed, and part of that means having a regular routine in place.  Consider the location in the house where he can study without too many distractions, the time of day that he will do homework, and the availability of you, your partner, or even an older sibling to help whenever necessary.

Tip #2: Timing is Everything

Most kids need time to decompress after school.  Though structure is important, offer your child the choice of whether to start homework after a snack and some play time, or to take a break and then dive in right after dinner.

Tip #3: Break Assignments into Manageable Chunks

Until kids learn effective time management, they don't know how to break down homework into manageable chunks.  This can be tough and overwhelming even for us adults.  Thankfully, time management is a skill that can be taught. Help your child break his tasks into smaller time periods and give breaks when needed.  Don’t overcomplicate this—set the kitchen timer for 25 minutes and then enthusiastically check your child’s progress.  Praise her for staying on task and if the subject she’s working on is frustrating, offer your help without doing the work for her.

Tip #4: Eliminate Distractions

Make it a rule that all electronics, cell phones, iPods, gaming consoles, and other distractions must be turned off during homework and study time.  Period!  Be consistent and despite the resistance you will receive at first, once your child realizes that he’s completing his work in a shorter amount of time without these disturbances, he’ll know it’s worth it.

See also: How to Keep Kids Active Without Electronics

Tip #5: Reward Efforts

Once homework routines are up and running and your child is staying on task and it’s showing with her grades, you can periodically reward those good efforts with token gifts that you child will really appreciate. 

Boy Doing Homework photo from Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.