Manage stress and mental wellbeing of your child by helping them with their homework assignments.

Are your children drowning in homework assignments, getting all stressed out and sleep-deprived and also losing interest in learning and dreading school? Find out how you can help your children beat the stress out of homework, have adequate sleep and remain enthusiastic about learning.

Fight Homework Stress? Arm Your Children with the Right Study Habits

Reduce stress by teaching your children effective study habits.

Tackling homework in the right manner can go a long way in relieving homework stress. Here are some tips for stress management.

  • Get your children to track their homework assignments with a planner. Try to complete the assignments on the day they are assigned. If this is not possible, help them prioritise which ones to tackle first.
  • Set aside a specific time each day for homework. Routine and consistency help reduce uncertainty and stress.
  • Break up homework time into bite-size periods for greater concentration, with a few stretching or cardiovascular exercises as an in-between. Teach your child to learn signs of stress and take a few minutes to stop and do a few deep breathing exercises to reduce stress.
  • If possible, have your children study earlier rather than later in the day for better focus.
  • Encourage your children to pay attention in class. When children stay focused during class, they are more likely to understand the subject better and less likely to struggle with homework assignments.
  • If they have time, encourage them to complete the easier assignments in school so that they can focus on the more difficult ones at home.

Be alert for the signs of homework burnout: constant frustration, loss of motivation, and diminished interest in learning. Offer encouraging words or a healthy snack to keep them going.

Related: Homework

Don’t Forget About Your Children’s Eyes and Posture

Take a break and encourage your children to practice good eye care frequently.

To delay the onset of myopia or slow its progression in your children, teach them to take good care of their eyes.

  • Encouraging children to spend more time outdoors every day. The more time spent outdoors, the lower risk of developing myopia. Studies show that if you spend an average of two to three hours per day of outdoor time as a young child, you may protect your child against myopia[1].
  • When doing homework, remind them about good eye care habits:
    • Hold reading materials at a distance from the eyes and read while sitting upright rather than lying down.
    • Ensure there is enough lighting to illuminate the room, but not cause any glare when reading.
    • Take a break to rest the eyes after time spent on near-continuous work.
    • Look out of the window at distant objects or go outdoors to relax the eyes.
    • Reduce total daily time spent on near work.
  • To address the issue of ergonomics and ensure good posture, make sure that your children’s study desk is at elbow height. Your child’s neck should be straight rather than tilt down. Check his posture regularly. Having good posture from young will last him for life.

Related: Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Be a Cool Parent

Parents should be a role model when helping their children with their homework assignments.

Don’t be surprised when your attitude towards homework rubs off on your kids! Here are some tips to stay out of homework ‘battleground’ which stresses out both you and your child!

  • If your child still cannot do a Math problem after you have explained to him for the n-th time, try to maintain your cool. For instance, you can tell yourself, “it’s not an emergency”.
  • Resist the temptation of doing the work for them, or giving them the answers. They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes.
  • If they have already finished their homework assignments, put the Tiger Mum in you to rest and avoid piling them with more.
  • Don’t punish them for not getting their homework assignments done; let them face the consequences in school.
  • Motivate them by praising them for their effort in completing the homework.

Related: Nurturing Self-Esteem

Ensure That Your Children Get Enough Sleep, Playtime, and Family Time.

It is vital for children to get enough sleep, playtime and family time.

Some things are essential for your children’s development, and homework assignments should not eat into the time for these. They include:

  • Sleep. Ensure that your children have enough sleep. If they are aged between six and 13, they should have nine to 11 hours of sleep a night. Getting sufficient quality sleep comes with many benefits, such as improved concentration and memory, better mood, and a stronger immune system.
  • Play. Don’t let homework assignments eat into their playtime. Research has shown that children who don't get enough physical play are more likely to fidget excessively and may have difficulty focusing when required to be seated for long periods.
  • Family time. Time spent with family can help cushion stress. For instance, sit down together for a meal with your children four to five times a week. Listen to them and communicate with them.

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References

  1. Turbert, D. (2014, Aug 28). More Time Outdoors May Reduce Kids' Risk of Nearsightedness [Website].
    Retrieved December 2017 from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/time-outdoors-reduces-nearsightedness
  2. Low, S. H. (2016, Dec). The Importance of PLAY [Website].
    Retrieved December 2017 from https://www.ecda.gov.sg/growatbeanstalk/Pages/ArticleDetail.aspx?type=3&articleid=301#.WhfNzCm-3MA
  3. Lai, L. (2016, Oct 6). Getting myopia at a young age carries risks later in life: Study. The Straits Times.
    Retrieved December 2017 from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/getting-myopia-at-a-young-age-carries-risks-later-in-life-study
  4. Singapore National Eye Centre. (n.d.). Childhood Myopia [Website].
    Retrieved December 2017 from https://www.snec.com.sg/eye-conditions-and-treatments/common-eye-conditions-and-procedures/pages/childhood-myopia.aspx