The mind of a child is like a sponge. Children absorb what is around them. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes this is not so good. When children are learning and taking in everything around them, it is understandable that they need to have a near-perfect environment to have an optimal learning experience.
I use the phrase near-perfect environment because what may be the perfect environment for one child may not be the perfect environment for another child. We are all different people with different personalities and different learning styles. The following suggestions may be used in part or in whole. I’ve found these tips to be helpful in creating the near-perfect homework environment.
- Create the atmosphere – Having a child who is very easily distracted has made us realize the importance of having an optimal homework environment. Our daughter has her own special homework space. It is a simple, well-lit area with no distractions. When she puts her head down to work, she is more inclined to “get in the zone.” There is no noise, no toys and no activities around her, which often translates into no homework problems.
- Allow for space/breaks – When my daughter gets off the bus, she is DONE. She needs a break. And why not? She has just completed a half-hour bus ride home and has had to stay focused all day at school. Our routine is to allow her to rest before she does anything. If she is rested, she is more inclined to stay focused and more likely to enjoy her homework. A rested brain means the brain is ready to work and is in “absorption” mode, not recovery-and-spent mode.
- Make sure the child is well fed – Food is something we all need. Having a child who is well fed will help the child work better. The human body simply cannot function properly without proper nutrition. Healthy meals and snacks help a child’s learning go a long way.
- Be organized – Being well organized is a sure way to have your child succeed in his or her studies. Have a homework caddy easily accessible so when the child is ready to start working, everything is ready to go, and there is no need to search for anything, which may cause a child to become distracted.
- Be available – Children may not want an adult right next to them while they are working, but it is important for them to know that you are available if they need you. Using phrases like, “It looks like you have worked really hard on that sentence” instead of empty praise such as, “You are the best at writing sentences” will help them realize their work is important.
These are just a few tips to help you create the near-perfect homework environment for your child. Start with these tips, and then observe doing his or her homework. You may also want to spark up a casual conversation with your child about what he or she does and doesn’t like about homework. Based on the answers, try to accommodate, and make homework something your child enjoys. How do you keep your child focused on doing homework?