Back home after school, on Saturdays and Sundays, or even worse, during the holidays, the last thing you want to think about is your homework.
Yet, despite the wide debate on the subject, there are those who think that homework is very important: they make learning effort; they develop the organizing skills of the little one, making him become more autonomous; allow the child to get to know each other better and understand how to react to frustration.
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To prevent homework from turning into a nightmare for the whole family, it is good to establish clear rules, but also to help the little ones to concentrate in their study. If they are less distracted, they will do their homework better (and in less time).
Here are the suggestions of Alessandro Ghezzo, child neuropsychiatrist of the Santagostino Medical Center.
1. The homework must be done by the children and not by the parents
“In many cases, parents tend to take over for children when it's time for homework. They stand side by side, follow them step by step and in the end this moment turns into a battlefield »explains the expert.
Mum and dad, on the other hand, should only supervise the child's work: "they must make him understand that they are there if he has problems or a question, but they must let him do it alone". At the beginning of their schooling, they may check that they remember to do all their homework, but little by little the control has to relax in order to empower the child.
«Let them manage by themselves: this is already a way to encourage their concentration. If they have to organize their times, they will be more motivated and focused on carrying out their tasks ”.
2. Avoid distractions
«A very important rule: when they start doing their homework, children must be away from distracting elements, such as loud music, the TV on, but above all the mobile phone. Have him leave it in another room or tell him to turn it off during homework. '
3. Choose the right time
Each child is different, depending on the character, but above all on the age. “Generally, if they are small, they are cooler in the morning; adolescents, on the other hand, are more productive in the afternoon - says the child neuropsychiatrist -. Try to understand when they are most active and concentrated and always keep that time to do their homework, so they won't have any surprises and will be able to organize themselves better ».Read also: Summer Vacation Tasks: 6 Tips to Organize Them Better
4. Plan your homework
“If the child has a lot to do, help him organize the study. Again, the more he grows, the more he will have to be able to do it himself. At the beginning, however, plan them according to the time available: for example, if he has two dense pages, let him break them in two days ».
As complexity increases, it can be helpful to divide tasks by difficulty and tackle the heavier ones first, so they will avoid tackling them when they are too tired.
5. Avoid multitasking
Another important aspect to maintain concentration and productivity in the study is to avoid making the children do several things at the same time: "Better make them tackle one subject at a time, without overlapping".
6. Establish precise time units
A 6-7 year old child gets distracted after about 15 minutes, a 15-16 year old child after 30-45. “Again, it depends on the type of child. It is important, however, to divide the tasks into minimum time units in which you know that the little one will be able to maintain concentration ».
«A good idea is to use a timer or hourglass, so that the little one sees the time pass and organizes himself to finish his homework within the set time and is also aware that he will not have to stay at his desk all afternoon ».
7. Train them to focus
As mentioned, each child is unique and may be able to stay focused for a longer or shorter time. However, there are strategies that can allow him to improve his ability. "For example, playing: memory, 'find the differences', Sudoku, crosswords, but also cards, such as Briscola or Scala Quaranta, are all very important activities to keep the mind trained and improve its skills".
8. Make them sleep well
The more rested you are, the more you can stay focused. «So pay attention to the hours of rest of your children. Let them sleep from 10 to 11 hours a night and if they snore or you notice that they have sleep apnea, contact a specialist because this negatively affects the quality of sleep ".
9. Watch what they eat
Food can also be important for staying focused. «The diet must be varied and balanced, but above all rich in Omega-3, nutrients that promote brain development and maintenance of attention. They are found mainly in blue fish, such as anchovies, mackerel, sardines and sardines: eating them 2-3 times a day can help the little ones ».
10. Stimulate their curiosity
In addition to playing with them, make them curious by making them understand that what they study is not far from reality. "Is important that make connections: for example, ask him who is the character to whom the street in which they live is dedicated. Or ask them questions about what they see: what is the name of the flower that blossomed on the balcony and why is it snowing on the mountains? The more curious they become, the more they will understand that through studying they will have the answers to their questions and their ability to concentrate will increase ».
- children at school
- 6-14 children years