End Homework Hassles
To help your child make it through his assignments, try to figure out his "homework personality," says Mel Levine, M.D., a pediatrician and founder of the nonprofit All Kinds of Minds.
It doesn't matter what the assignment is, it's never good enough, never long enough, or the teacher will hate what he's done.
What to do: Try putting a time limit on homework sessions, and make sure you know what the project is so you can assure him he's done all he needs to.
What to do: "One of the hardest places for kids to focus is in their bedroom," Levine says. Some do better if they can change locations every 15 minutes, or will be less apt to take "breaks" if they're around the rest of the family. Others can't stand silence: Listening to music (but TV's not ideal) can help them concentrate.
"I can't get him to say a word about his day when he gets home from school," says Anne Chapman of Westerly, RI, about her third-grader, William, "but when it comes time for homework, he wants to chat about math class, his friends, even global warming!"
What to do: If your child has trouble getting down to business, it can mean she's anxious or overwhelmed, so help her break down the work. "On Sunday night, make a schedule for the week," Levine says. Put her assignments on a calendar so she can check things off.
The Speed Demon
What to do: "Never give an incentive for finishing homework quickly," says Levine. Instead, decide on a set amount of time your child is required to study. If he finishes his homework early, he can read.