Creating Good Homework Habits Early


by New Day Producers

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 1 at 3:56 PM

School is in session and for many families, getting kids to buckle down to do homework can be like pulling teeth! Creating good homework habits needs to start early. Believe it or not, it involves more than clearing a space at the table for textbooks and note books. Pediatrician, Don Shifrin, came in today with great tips for kids and their parents!

Here are some of Dr. Shifrin's tips for students AND parents:

I liken homework to food and nutrition for children: whose responsibility is it?

Try as we might, we cannot make children eat, but we can

1) Prepare nutritious food

2) Be a role model when it comes to choosing and eating food

3) Minimize distractions during meals

4) Add vitamins and extra minerals to fulfill daily requirements as needed.

With homework

We cannot do it for them, but we can

1) Prepare a place that is conducive to studying

2) Value the learning process by being a good resource and role model for learning (model an 'interest' in the homework process and strive to remain positive...)

3) Minimize distractions. Do not have TV /telephones/video games/ younger siblings interrupt homework.

4) What else does your child require that you could add? Tutors/ extra help with research. How can you facilitate (assist) without "chewing" i.e. "doing” the homework for them?

So our job is not to create the capacity for just ‘work”, but to create the capacity for learning.

There are a lot of things that can interfere with learning: poor schools, teachers, poor nutrition, and improper sleep patterns. But also stress from insecure attachments/relationships, economic anxiety, bullying, as well as attention and learning issues.

So how parents help with homework without nagging, yelling, and threatening?

Let’s contemplate the 5 W’s that will show your child you think homework is important.

1)    Why?

Schools provide learning opportunities and parents have an equal opportunity to reinforce and build on what their child learns at school. See number 5 as well for

2)    Where?

Set up a homework-friendly area. Minimize distractions. Have all materials ready.

3)    When?

Based on your child’s schedule, establish a routine with a regular daily study time. Make sure they have some (appropriate snacks and drinks as well as some ‘down time’ before beginning).

As for weekends planning on Friday for the weekend’s assignments, taking into account the family’s/athletic activities, makes for happier- and easier Sundays.

4)    What?

This is really a key question? Does your child know (what) his homework assignment for that night?  Does he understand the assignment? Does he need some organizational assistance with a long term project due in 5/10/21 days? Should you check online to see if their explanation makes sense to you, therefore to them? Can you help them with some study strategies for math/spelling/writing/geography?

5)    Who? ( and maybe how)

The key to helping is you knowing when and how to step in: You are the available, askable parent: you are monitoring the process of getting organized, staying focused, and getting it done. Yes they are often going to need help with planning and resources. ( homework help).

( But you are not hovering)

Always encouraging their effort, determination, and independent work. Noting the reward is not just the grades they get. With your positive praise you are modeling for them your excitement and love of the learning process.


Get help! Talk with the teacher.

Where is your child compared to his classmates? (Note: Don’t miss Parent-Teacher conferences, and go armed with questions). 

Again- see number 5- The key to helping is you knowing when and how to step in!

Encourage your child to reach out and perhaps get extra help from the teacher or even consider tutoring.

Remember, like manners, learning begins at home!