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Helping with homework

Anitha BennettMother,And,Little,Daughter,Writing,Together

Homework hour can be demanding with one child. And more demanding if you have children.

When you have one child, you can focus on homework during homework time and once it gets done, you put away the books and relax, satisfied with a job well done.

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

Welcome to the world of parenting children! With all the complexities of sibling wars and equal portions, homework hour can become very demanding. Here are five ways of helping children with their homework.Plan ahead. If your children’s grades aren’t good, you can’t take homework lightly. The hour or two you get with your children must be planned well ahead. 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 familiar lesson to the other child to work on alone. Prepare yourself by reading ahead to cut teaching time short.

Be prepared. All stationery and supplies that go into each day’s homework should be on the children’s study table before lessons begin. Time is wasted and unnecessary arguments crop up between children over pencils, erasers and paint boxes. Also to make the most of study time, keep yourself completely free. You will see your children learn quickly!

Alternate. While one child works on a maths problem, you could take up 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 then helping with the other one’s work will leave you exhausted at the end of the day. Alternating between children is a simpler option.

Quiet play. Getting a baby-sitter for your younger child who is not yet in school, is a good idea. When that’s not possible, teach the infant to quietly play alone during the homework hour of the older one. Blocks, puzzles and books are ideal for the younger child. Keep rotating activities since boredom sets in fast in preschoolers.

Exclusive hours. There may be times when one child needs a lot of extra help in a particular subject. Or the child may find it highly distracting to work with other children around. Budget 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 engaging a professional tutor for subjects which you may not be very good at, especially if one child is older and you are unable to cope.

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