Parenting Tips

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Helping Teens Cope with Homework

Teens nowadays want to feel independent as they grow older and become more mature. However, they still parents to continue to show interest and involvement in what they are doing. This is especially so when school matters are concerned. Survey shows that when teachers and parents work closely together, teens do better academically. Unfortunately, parental involvement in school tends to drop off as soon as students are in the upper secondary level.

Singapore parents, no matter how busy you are, make sure your adolescent is focusing enough time on schoolwork and still trying to do his or her best. A little encouragement and communication can go a long way in motivating your teen to succeed and develop the necessary skills while still leaving plenty of time for fun.

Setting the mood

While younger kids may sit down with Mom and Dad during homework time, teens often prefer to retreat to their private quarters - their rooms. Let them be, just check periodically to make sure that he or she is focusing on the task at hand, rather than talking on the phone, chatting online, playing video games or watching TV.

Also, make sure the study area is well-lit and distraction-free. The chair, desk, and computer space should be comfortable.

Many teens like to study with music but parents should have some say about the volume. The TV should be off when your teen is doing schoolwork. Finally, limit phone calls or computer usage until homework is completed.

Where do parents come in?

The parent role is a supporting one. You should encourage your teen to think, evaluate and respond on his or her own. Avoid doing the work for them. This will help your adolescent know the sense of achievement and learn from the assignment. It will also reinforce the idea that teens need to be independent in many aspects of life and have to take responsibility for the work they do.

However, make yourself available for questions about the assignments which may mean helping your teen understand instructions, listening to ideas, or reviewing the final product. Remember, your teen values your opinion, so be a supportive resource when needed.

Here are some tips to help you make homework easier for your teen:

  • Sit down and draw up a schedule with your teen. Help your him/her prioritize by rearranging time slots, where necessary. Emphasize that studying should be a high priority and should not end too late every night.
  • Ensure that the necessary supplies are readily available to do his or her homework. Example, folders to organize assignments; appropriate calculators for more mathematics; a wall calendar or personal planner to record assignment due dates, tests, extracurricular practices and rehearsals.
  • Encourage your teen to voice out, should there be a need for clarification and further help is needed.
  • Suggest that your child check with teachers or other classmates for help. School teachers are usually more than willing to give advice. With classmates, group studies will also help clear doubts.
  • Engage your teen in thought-provoking discussions about classes, homework assignments and school projects, focusing on the positive aspects of school. Your perspective can help your child apply what is being taught in school to the "outside" world.

With a little support from parents, homework can be a positive experience for your teen. It should be one that enriches learning, reinforces daily classroom lessons and fosters lifelong skills.

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