Suggestions for Working with Your Child

When your child has homework or when the teacher requests that you work with your child regularly at home, you may find some of these suggestions useful.

  1. Set aside a period each day at a specific time.
  2. Play the role of a teacher. Be objective and impersonal during the homework session. Talk about your different roles as parent and teacher to help the child understand what you are doing.
  3. Do not let the child take control. He may want to talk instead of work. He may ask, “Do I have to?” He may act foolish, giggle, or complain of a headache. If the child begins to throw a tantrum, tell him to go ahead and have a tantrum but that he will still have to get to the work when he is finished.
  4. If you know that he has reason to feel tired or over-excited, wait until he is calm and rested.
  5. Keep your directions short and simple. In some cases, show him instead of tell him.
  6. Don’t pressure your child to work fast. Timed tests or tasks will be especially disorganizing for him. Rewards for finishing a task at a specific time also create undue pressure. Instead, say, “When you are finished you may…….”.
  7. Help your child learn how to relax. Several deep breaths in and out will often help. Massage his neck and shoulders when he appears to be tense.
  8. When you sense it would be helpful, read lessons to your child. Ask him to read every other paragraph or take turns in other ways. Allow him to rest his eyes while you read to him.
  9. When the school allows parents to buy textbooks, do buy texts, and teach your child to underline important parts with a yellow pencil or highlighter as he reads assignments.
  10. Help your child to accept himself when he forgets facts or words which you thought he had already learned.
  11. Never tell your child a task is easy. Agree with him that it’s hard, but that you think he can do it.
  12. If you feel tense as you try to work with your child, don’t give up. Take 3 deep breaths yourself before you begin to nag or show your tension in any way.