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Wherever there is a child struggling with schoolwork, the odds are their parents are struggling to find the most effective way to help that child.

Some kids find themselves falling behind in their schoolwork, despite a lot of effort. Some of those kids will get the support they need from specialists at school, but for others, those services aren’t available and parents find themselves looking for answers on how they can help at home.

Begin by talking to your child to determine if there are any other types of concerns such as friends or teasing. If there aren’t any underlying social issues, here are some strategies to help them.

  • Check the routine. The school year is well underway and good habits might have disappeared. Sports schedules, practice times, performances, or tryouts can throw even the best schedules out of whack. It’s also easy to let too much screen time creep into the day. Re-establish a routine for morning tasks, meals, activities, homework, and bedtime preparations.
  • Discover new boredom busters. The school year is getting long, daylight is still limited, and he or she just doesn’t feel like doing homework. It’s time to get creative to help motivate! Try setting up a reading tent to have a fun new place to read. Review math facts by having them demonstrate with motion; for instance, “Show me the answer to 4+7 by jumping that many times.”
  • Brush up on study skills. Some kids will complete homework easily, but not do well on tests. Teach your child strategies to relax or remember important points. For example, make up lyrics to a familiar song or create a rhyme to remember facts. Multiple assignments or exams happening at the same time can leave a student feeling overwhelmed. Talk through the schedule to help your child stay organized and focused, have a plan, and avoid procrastination.
  • Seek out help. Start with your child’s teachers, as they may be able to provide some new insight since you last spoke. Perhaps a study group or friend would help. Professional tutors are another option, as they have innovative ways of helping kids learn. Lastly, don’t forget to include your pediatrician. Doctors have many screening tools and resources available. There might be more behind the struggle than you realize. If so, several options are available for assisting your child that you may not have considered yet.
  • Maintain balance. Kids still need time to be kids; to play, to spend time outside, to hang out with friends, and to just have some down time to themselves. Help everyone keep a positive attitude and provide your child with unconditional love, offer support and encouragement, and let them know you believe in them, every day.

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A tutor might be the way to go if your youngster is falling behind in one particular subject. A tutor is knowledgeable in a particular subject area, and can bolster a child’s success in that subject by filling in background information your child might have missed and offering more explanation and practice to help the student acquire the necessary skills.

When children have unusual difficulty with the work, and homework becomes a major area of conflict, having a professional on the case can be a big relief for both you and them. Helping a child succeed at homework–without the family dynamics–can remove a lot of stress from the evening.

By Tonya Johnson

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