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7 Ways to Help Your Teen With Homework


Recently, a parent asked this question.


“What can I do to help my daughter get her homework done on the weekends? She waits until the last minute, then the next thing I know it’s late on a Sunday night. She’s crying and needs help getting it all done. I get so upset and we all need to go to bed. I asked her all weekend long if she had homework and she never said she did.”


When it comes to homework, kids can space out and avoid it, thinking they did it only to realize there’s more homework, and then a volcano erupts. Not a great start to the week.

Ideas for Homework Time:

  1. Make sure they have a planner for their assignments. I like paper planners better because you can see, touch, and even smell them. You can pick out favorite pens to use in them. You can get the kind that has paper that is delicious to write on. Then, they can see their whole week out in front of them. If the planner shows a week at a time, they can say to themselves, “It’s Monday and I have a test on Friday so I’ll do something each night for fifteen minutes.” Plus, you can look at it. Help them put everything that’s every going to be due in that planner at the beginning of the semester. Use the syllabus. Train them on how to use it.
  2. Help them actually study by helping them to make flashcards of the study guide or the class notes. The kids we work with, when asked if they know how to make flashcards, will often get wide eyed and stare us down leaning forward in their seat. It is obvious that they don’t know how to actually study. If you help your child learn to make real, paper flashcards of the material, it will help them with recalling the material when they are under stress. Flashcards are something you can do with them. You can get a big plastic envelope to hold all your flashcard decks and pull them out whenever they need to practice. There are also apps they can use like Quizlet.
  3. Try setting up limits and rewards. “Yes, you can go as long as your assignment is done.” “Sure, that’s a great idea, but let’s finish that chapter before we go.” OR: “If you get this paper done, we will go get ice cream.” OR, “If you get all As this week in History on the homework, we will order that shirt you’ve been wanting.”
  4. Make homework time more creative. Like, put all the study guide questions on post-it notes and put them around the bathroom. OR make a song out of something they are having trouble memorizing. Get into it! Get outside of the usual, boring homework box. Could they create a new desk with a box of colorful pens and pencils? Do they love graph paper? Could they do their homework on it? Could you give them their flashcards while you drive around in the car or at a favorite restaurant?
  5. Have them decorate their planner, their binder, their plastic envelopes to hold their assignments or their backpack. Somehow, school needs to have positive energy around it. If they are invested in decorating their class binder, maybe it will help. Use stickers, things you’ve printed from the Internet, or other memorabilia inside the front of the binder.
  6. Have a weeknight routine. For example, every night after school we have dinner then do homework for an hour (or however long it takes). Then, once it’s done, we watch our favorite Netflix show.
  7. Have a weekend routine. The weekend routine is often the “problem child of homework”. Kids check out on Friday then remember they have homework Sunday night. Now they are tired, stressed and hating life. So are their parents. Maybe the weekend homework routine is spending at least two hours in a coffee shop where they can simultaneously do their work and people watch with a lattė. Or the bookstore where they could go and find books related to what they are learning. Sometimes doing your work while stuck in a room with someone telling you to hurry up, is just too much of a downer. Get out there in nature even! Do the homework at a park under a tree!

If you or your teen need more ideas, or if you think there’s something deeper going on that needs addressed, you can schedule an individual session by clicking on the Book Now button. 

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Free Clear Mind Therapy provides in-person therapy in Fishers & Indianapolis and online therapy across Indiana. Specializing in anxiety therapy for teens, adults, and kids.

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