Now that school’s back in session, parents have begun to help their kids fight the ugly monster that causes them to stay up late at night fussing at their children: homework.

Kids dread it, teachers swear by it, and parents, somehow, balance the two. This is a difficult task for some parents, especially those working a full-time job and running a household. However, helping kids complete homework is profitable for both students and their parents. Homework allows parents to become aware of what their children are learning in school, and it gives them the opportunity to view their child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. For children, homework provides a means of extra practice on a skill learned in class, reinforcing the skill so they won’t lose it. Completing homework also allows children to receive one-on-one instruction?”something that few schools provide during the school day.

It is imperative that parents make homework time a sacred time in their households. And putting it at the bottom of the to-do list leaves children at an extreme academic disadvantage. Here are a few guidelines on how to make homework time effective for both parents and their children:

Defuse frustration

When children arrive home from school, they are often tired, hungry, and/or cranky?”similar to how you feel right after work. Therefore, forcing them to do homework right away won’t necessarily result in churning out perfect papers. If kids are irritable when they get home, they will often speed through homework, making numerous mistakes and not putting forth their best effort.

Give your child some time to wind down after school. Let them have a snack. Allow them to watch their favorite cartoon. Even better, give them the freedom to run around outside for 20 minutes. This type of exercise makes kids feel better. According to, “When you exercise, your brain releases a chemical called endorphins, which may make you feel happier.” And when kids are in a better mood, they produce better work.

Create a quiet place

The television and stereo should be turned off when students are at work. This not only means that your child shouldn’t be listening, but you may need to hold off on the entertainment as well, especially if you live in a small apartment?”blaring music from another room in the house can be just as distracting. Also, keep the younger siblings at bay. Their running around and/or crying may cause your school-ager’s attention to divert from the work at hand.

Clear away clutter

Ensure that your child has a clutter-free place to write. If the only space available is the kitchen table, make sure the night’s dinner is well wiped away. Don’t let your child eat while doing homework. Let him/her know that a teacher will not accept a paper with stains on it just as an employer would turn down a candidate with a messy job application. This will lead them to value homework and the process of completing it.

Ensure that homework
is completed correctly

Oftentimes parents think that if their kids go to some room with their books in hand, homework completion will just occur naturally. Although this method is less stressful to parents, it could not be further from the truth. Children need guidance when doing homework. This includes helping your child understand directions as well as checking to make sure the assignment is complete. Helping your child takes time and effort on your part, and parents who want their children to do well in school take the time to put forth that effort, regardless of their own job demands, because they know the pay-off is well worth it.

Amy Pouba, a fifth grade reading teacher at KIPP Ascend Charter School admitted that of the students who receive A’s and B’s in her class, 98 percent have a 100-percent homework completion rate. Therefore, completing homework is very critical to a child’s academic success.

Secondly, be quick to second-guess your child when they hurriedly admit, “We didn’t have any homework today.” According to Chicago Public Schools, teachers are mandated to give homework on a regular basis. For this reason, you might want to keep the contact information of your child’s teacher on speed dial in order to double-check your child’s statement.

Be a consultant, not a co-writer

Remember to guide your child while he/she is completing homework, but don’t dominate. Providing too much help can be a hindrance to your child’s learning. Be patient when helping your child. Fight the temptation to write your child’s essay because you don’t think they’re working fast enough. Finishing your child’s work only shows that you will bail them out whenever they are struggling, which will make them even more dependent on you in the future.

Implementing rules for homework time is essential, and using the above tactics makes this very important task doable. Once your child understands the guidelines for completing homework, you will finally be able to put the homework monster to rest.