Brilliant tips to stay organised with homework
Children are not as experienced as adults in understanding the benefits of being well organised. This is a skill that adults have because they can see ahead to the consequences if they don’t have productive systems in place. Kids are also naturally prone to getting distracted from their homework, so here’s an action plan to tackle the task.
DESIGNATE A STUDY AREA
It’s hard for your child to stay organised and focused on homework if they are surrounded by their bedroom clutter, such as piles of clothes everywhere. It’s hard to focus on homework in an uncomfortable chair, or with younger siblings running around, or someone else watching TV in the room. Constant distractions will work against your child’s homework tasks and greatly affect their productivity.
If your child does not already have one, start the year with a designated study area where they can focus in peace and comfort. This could be a corner in the living room, or a space in your child’s bedroom – either way, create a functional study area away from distractions, with good lighting and a comfortable chair.
Get your child involved by letting them choose the desk (or desk colour), chair or a few cool accessories to organise themselves. The more onboard your child is, the better the chance they will take ownership of the space and actually look forward to doing their homework there.
USE ORGANISATION TOOLS
Many children start the new school term organised, but after a few weeks or months, they can struggle to keep up with assignments and deadlines. The trick is to help your child put a system in place at the outset, then make the proper tools available, so they stay organised. These are good ones:
A planner allows your child to write down homework assignments for each class, highlight important tests or projects and add other important activities like sports, extracurricular or family events.
A large wall calendar placed above your child’s desk can help your child to map out all their homework commitments, tests and exams so they can see everything in one place and never miss a deadline. You could also use an online calendar, which would allow your child to add in assignments, set reminders for important due dates and deadlines and even colour-code reminders so they can prioritize more easily. However, if you are looking to limit screen time and also monitor your child’s homework, a wall calendar would be best.
Keep a to-do list
Surprisingly, a simple To-Do list can be the greatest organisational tool of all. Get your child to write the daily list of what they need to do, then cross off the items one-by-one as they complete the task. It instils good habits and a methodical approach to doing their homework.
Take good notes in the lessons!
Many children fail to take good quality, detailed and accurate notes as the teacher is talking, only to find later that they don’t remember enough from the lesson to do their homework. Taking good notes in class is critical to your child’s success. In fact, studies have proven that taking good notes in class can improve active listening and comprehension, as well as retention of the topics.
Distractions: blocking apps
The Internet is necessary for homework, but it also provides plenty of distractions that are just a click away. Bearing in mind that many social networks are specifically appealing to children and teens – and very addictive to them – it’s no wonder kids have difficulty staying focused on homework! That’s why a distraction blocking app can help. These apps can actually help kids to build focus and discipline. When they turn them on, they can’t open anything distracting, as they simply won’t work.
CLEAR OUT THE BACKPACK EVERY WEEK
Children’s school backpacks can quickly gather clutter, including used gym gear, unwanted lunch items, food wrappers, notes and old papers. Help your child stay organised by clearing out anything that is not needed for the immediate school week – and do this clear out every week. An organised school bag will make it easier for them to feel more in control and stay organised.
HELP THEM MANAGE THEIR STUDY TIME
Children of all ages can have a hard time actually getting down to work on their assignments from school. Some might do lots of complaining first, ask to watch TV for a while before starting, or find other ways to procrastinate. In the end though, they can usually manage to power through their homework, once they sit down to focus. But as a mum, you might find that they wasted a lot of time first!
According to research, sometimes children’s brains will form conclusions based on their emotions. In other words, when their perception of how much homework they have is exaggerated, sitting down to do the homework can feel overwhelming and hopeless, which can make them feel stressed and avoidant.
To help clear their mind of any stress, whip through with them what is needed for each homework topic and ask them to start with a short burst of 30 minutes of furious activity, to get as much done as possible. Check how they’re doing after this, praise them for progress, and challenge your child to do another 30-minute intense burst to power through the task. Let them know the secret to doing their homework in the quickest amount of time is to avoid scrolling or clicking, and just focus on one 30-minute burst at a time. The chances are, your child will quickly realise that the work is getting done and the task is not as big as they thought!