Great tips to improve homework practices from Screenagers:
Homework Hygiene is all about helping kids develop effective practices around homework such as writing to-do lists, developing the habit of prioritizing the list and checking things off.
It is a top priority to engage our kids in conversations in which they become aware of the challenges they face in having good homework habits.
Screenagers 3-part conversation tactic for helping kids gain insight and ideas for optimal homework hygiene:
- Empathize – Start by saying you have empathy for all kids about homework—you understand that after a full school day how difficult it is to do repetitive or hard work. Validate that having to do homework can feel tortuous at times, and now with distractions at our fingertips, there is a new, unprecedented level of challenge.
- Get curious – Have one good conversation about homework that is calm and curious, not personal and judgemental.
- Explore effective strategies – After the non-personal conversations, get your kid to talk about their current homework strategies and habits. Ask questions like, “Do you start by writing a list of what needs to get done?” Now is a good time to throw out ideas.
Examples of good Homework Hygiene:
- Do homework after physical activity because the body is physiologically primed to learn more efficiently in this state.
- Start with the task that they least want to do and set the alarm for 10 minutes. That helps get over the hurdle of doing it. Then, after the 10 minutes, coming back to it will be much easier.
- Have a rule that all tech is off by a certain time so homework cannot be done late at night.
- Put phones out of sight and decide when it is reasonable for a tech or phone break. My 10th grader takes a short phone break about every 30 minutes.
- Put in place other breaks, not just checking phone, such as playing with a pet, or doing part of a crossword puzzle with them.
- Get a system that monitors what the student does on the computer, i.e. how often they check other sites. If they know this is on the computer, it can help keep them stay on task until they get a break. Check out our website for computer monitoring systems. Another way to do this is to tell your child that the two of you will check their browsing history from time to time. It is vital to be upfront about this because kids can easily erase their history.
Are you or your child constantly on your cell phones? Take your ipad to the beach on vacation? Ever find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Is your computer always on? Find it difficult to engage with your child because they’re always in front of a screen?
We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our iPhones and BlackBerry’s, chronicling our every move through Facebook and Twitter and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of “silence” that our earphones create.
If you recognize that in yourself – or your friends, families or colleagues— join us for the National Day of Unplugging, sign the Unplug pledge and start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.
The National Day of Unplugging is a 24 hour period – running from sundown to sundown – and starts on the first Friday in March. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, an adaption of a ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.
Contact Dina Mann (firstname.lastname@example.org), National Marketing and Outreach Manager, Reboot
Written by Charlotte Deehr, RN, WPHS 9th Grade Center School Nurse
Learn more about Charlotte
My childhood unfolded in the last few years before the internet even came into being. I remember being 14 and AOL was the new big thing, chatting with friends through the computer? Amazing! However, today’s kids have lived their entire lives with bleeps, buzzes and signals coming from many channels of information. Parents and teachers alike worry about the impact that constant multitasking is having on children’s developing brains.
Even at a young age children are drawn to screens and smart phones. My own 2 month old will turn his head to see the T.V if he can, after all the noise, pictures and colors must be terribly interesting to him. So how do we ensure our kids don’t grow up to be screen-a-holics when there is clearly such a pull? And for parents, who themselves have plugged in. How do we reconnect and unplug in a way that’s fun, and functional? After all, we can’t ask our children to unplug when we ourselves can’t.
This is not just some thought, idea, or inane theory about how to reconnect with your kids and support their healthy development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 and limited screen time for kids over two. Their website claims that the average amount of screen time for today’s children is 7 HOURS per DAY. Whoa. That’s more than half of a typical child’s waking hours in a day! There is an increasing body of research that shows that excessive screen time can lead to attention problems, social delays, and an increase in violent behavior. Interaction with a live human being is clearly what human babies and young children need more than anything else. In fact, babies deprived of human contact die, even if they’re provided with adequate food, clothing, and shelter. Freedom to explore their world in a physical and sensory way is also crucial to healthy development. So, how can we help kids avoid media when screens are so prevalent and so unbelievably addictive? I’m glad you asked.
- MODEL WHAT YOU WANT
If you want your child to unplug, then you need to unplug. Yes it will be hard not to reach for the phone to check. Put it on silent, then you won’t hear the ding of the alerts, sit down, and enjoy dinner. Without the background noise. Show your children how to connect on a personal level not just digital.
- PLAY DATES
Make them no screen time play dates. Get outside, explore, or head to a local museum/park etc. This not only gets them away from screens it also challenges them to socialize, interact and get creative.
- OFFER A VARIETY
Books, games, puzzles, crafts, any other diversional activities. If your child isn’t getting into it right away try playing WITH them. Soon they will be immersed and you may be able to return to what you were doing.
- ARTS AND CRAFTS
Get some chalk and decorate the driveway, make some fun crafts to hang around the house for various holidays *even silly ones like national dog day or talk like a pirate day.* This is where Pinterest comes in handy. And have the kids pitch in to help clean up afterwards, don’t forget to have fun yourself.
- TUMBLE TIME
A little bit of roughhousing does everyone some good. Have some play time with your children, remember to let them win!
- YARD WORK
No one likes yard work, unless it’s the fun kind. Try planting a small garden, or challenging your kids to a contest of who can rake leaves the quickest (and throw in a prize if you like, something as simple as an ice cream cone, or no dish duty for the winner.)
- READ ALOUD
It doesn’t matter the age, any child can get transported away to another world in the form of a good story. Get your kids involved by alternating who reads, and you can even do voices for characters if you are feeling spunky. Pretty soon your child will be begging for their daily chapter.
In a society inundated by technology and digital relationships we need to be mindful to take a moment to unplug, reconnect with ourselves and our fellow humans.