Helping with homework

With all the complexities of sibling wars and time division, homework hour can become quite a nightmare. Here are five ways of helping children with their homework.


Homework hour can be demanding for parents with one child. It’s more demanding if you have two or more children. With one child, you can focus on homework during the study hour and once it’s done, you put away the books and relax, satisfied with a job well done.

Enter child number two and the homework hour isn’t picture perfect anymore. Your older child is reciting her multiplication tables to you when the younger one interrupts every two seconds asking what colour to use for Santa’s hair in her colouring book.

Welcome to the world of parenting multiple children! With all the complexities of sibling wars and time division, homework hour can become a nightmare. Here are five ways of helping children with their homework.

Plan ahead. If you believe that children’s grades are important, you can’t take homework hour lightly. The hour or two you spend with your children must be planned well in advance. Write down what each child needs to learn and the approximate amount of time required. There may be subjects for which one sibling may need undivided attention. In such cases, assign a known portion of lessons to the other child to work on alone. Prepare yourself by reading ahead to cut teaching time short.

Be prepared. All the stationery and supplies required for each day’s homework must be on the children’s study table before lessons begin. Time is wasted and unnecessary arguments crop up between children when the parent is away for a minute. To make the most of the study hour, allow no external interruptions.

Alternate. While one child works on maths problems, you can focus on the other child’s alphabets and numbers. Train children to work on their own, without constantly interrupting you with doubts and questions. Set aside a time for clearing doubts.

Finishing one child’s homework completely and taking up the other one’s work will leave you exhausted at the end of the day so alternating between children is a preferable option.

Quiet play. If you can get a baby-sitter for your younger child who is not yet in school, that’s ideal. When that’s not possible, teach her to quietly play alone during the home-work hour of the elder one. Blocks, puzzles and books are great options to keep the younger child engaged. Keep rotating activities since boredom sets in fast in pre-schoolers.

Exclusive hours. There may be times when one child needs extra help in a particular subject. Or the child may find it highly distracting to work with other children around. Set aside exclusive hours for such cases. If this saps your energy during weekdays, set an hour aside during weekends to help the child. Or turn it over to your spouse! You could also consider a private tutor for subjects which are not your forte, especially if one child is older and you are unable to manage both.

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EducationWorld May 2020
ParentsWorld December 2019

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