Homework time might be an issue for many parents as for some children it is seen as a continuation of school. Many parents discuss that homework is a daily power struggle for them and their children.
Here are some tips to help out with homework struggles:
1. Choose the best time:
Many parents assume that homework is best done as soon as the child comes back from school. However for some children school can be very tiring. Start by discussing together with your child the activities that need to be done after school. This will help them understand the task routine and also understand that homework and play are both chores that need to be set into the after school routine. Find a common time together and you might need to help out by choosing the time that you observe your child to be mostly energised. Some children might feel too tired after school or he might prefer to finish it off as soon as he is home. As parents we need to respect our children’s thresholds which for children who have sensory processing difficulties might be harder to regulate and control.
2. Visual aids, timers and rewards:
Children who are under responsive to sensations might need auditory and visual cues to promote their processing and prompt them towards task completion. You can set timers for individual tasks following which you give your child a movement break.
Sensory seeks will crave novelty so the use of rewards and timers might motivate them to work harder towards finishing their homework.
On the other for some children a timer might create anxiety so you might opt for other options such as creating checklists which help them visualise the pending tasks.
3. Sensory friendly homework spot
Some children work best in a quiet, distraction free environment. Others need to change positions frequently, others need to have alternative seating options or have the radio on. As a parent of sensory smart child, you need to find the best way to present the homework spot depending upon your child’s needs. Make sure you cater for those sensory needs so you can help your child regulate and cope better with such tasks. You might need to consult with your occupational therapist to help you find the best sensory strategies.
Try to make the homework spot a place where the child wants to be. Doing the homework at the dining table or in the living area is not the ideal handwriting spot for your child. Those spaces have specific functions and are mostly suited for other family tasks such as leisure or mealtime.
4. Liaise with teacher
Some children might be refusing to do their homework because they are struggling but don’t know how to tell you. Avoid putting high expectations on your child and discuss with them what they are feeling during homework and school work. Reach out to their teacher and discuss in further detail their literacy and academic abilities. Discuss with their teacher the best way to address this issue such as decrease homework load and repeat previous lessons. If your child is struggling in such areas you might need to seek specialist advice from an educational psychologist or literacy specialist.
5. Mum and me playtime
Reward your child by finding the time to do an activity with them together after they finish off their work. Our busy lives might get in the way of acknowledging the importance of play and how we can simply reward by having fun together. If your child is a sensory craver try to carry out activities with intense sensory input while if your child has a sensory sensitive profile engage in more sedentary tasks. You might be lucky and find time to visit the local playground which will surely give your child a break from the home and daily chores.