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Children’s Chatter: Making homework time productive

DIS Susan MatherlyBy Susan Matherly
Contributing writer

Does your school-age child often fidget or become distracted while he is supposed to be doing his homework? Sometimes it can be difficult to keep your child focused and willing to be productive during homework time, but you can make that time more efficient and beneficial by establishing household rules.

It’s important to designate specific areas for homework and studying. It can be the dining room table or even your child’s room. The space should be functional as a work area with enough space to spread out all of your child’s materials and pencils, pens, paper, books and other essentials readily available.

Your child’s study time should come with some limitations. For example, it is probably best to turn off the television while your child is doing his homework so he won’t be distracted by it. Some children are able to function well with their favorite radio station playing in the background, but only you can judge if that is appropriate for your child.

You can assist your child by helping him understand that studying is more than just completing homework assignments. Encourage him to take notes as he reads a chapter, to study tables and charts, to summarize what he reads in his own words and to make flash cards for later studying purposes.

It is acceptable to help your child with his homework if it is productive to do so. Checking a math problem or quizzing your child on spelling words can be very beneficial, but if your child can handle those subjects without help then save your involvement for praise and support.

Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and a master’s degree in public health. She can be contacted at (859) 236-71716.