Friday, September 18, 2009

Nannies and Au Pairs Should Help Children Create a Homework Schedule

Having a regular routine and schedule each school day helps children achieve well in school.

Last week we started discussing how vital it is for nannies and au pairs to help childen with homework.

Having a regular routine and schedule each school day helps children achieve well in school. The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL), an education and tutoring center, explains that established routines set expectations, helps create a focused atmosphere, and models time organization.

The daily school routine should begin the evening before children go to school. In the evening caregivers and children should gather all school supplies and completed homework needed for the next day. Backpacks should be packed, school lunches and snacks should be made and stored in the refrigerator, and clothing should be picked out for the next day of school. Having these tasks completed before going to bed helps the children get ready for school in the morning.

In the morning nannies should provide children with a healthy breakfast. Once dressed and fed caregivers and students should check one last time to ensure that children have their lunches and snacks in their backpacks and that they have all schoolwork and materials needed for that day in school.

After school nannies need to help children develop a daily routine as well. The NWREL recommends that homework helpers start the homework routine by taking a few minutes to talk about the children's day or chat over a snack. They explain, "This is an important part of getting homework done. Remember, children have been in school for six or more hours before sitting down to do homework. A moment to decompress, collect thoughts, and relax the body and mind will result in a more successful study time."

But, the NWREL advises caregivers that it is best to have children complete their homework before going to other activities or having playdates. Although, extra curricular activities may require children to complete homework after activities or dinner.

Julie, a nanny from Seattle, advises nannies to let children have a healthy snack after school and a little exercise, then do homework. Julie believes that it is "best to have as much homework done before dinner when possible. Never have kids go to sleep before homework is completed."

The U.S. Department of Education (U.S.D.E.) explains that what works well in one household may not work in another. The U.S.D.E. explains that a good schedule depends in part on the children's ages as well as their specific needs. For instance, one child may do homework best in the afternoon, completing homework first or after an hour of play and another may do it best after dinner.

The U.S.D.E. also recommends that caregivers should help elementary school children develop a schedule. Older students can probably make up a schedule independently, although homework helpers should make sure that it's a workable one.

It may be helpful to write out the schedule and put it in a place where everyone can see it often, such as on the refrigerator door. See our Homework Contract posted on Tuesday September 8, 2009.

What are your tips to help children with homework?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Schedules are key to everything working with children at every age for every topic from birth to adult. Kids are like little clocks. I prefer schedules too. Great advice once again. Tara C.

Anonymous said...

It has been really hard getting back into school and homework for the kids and I this year. We are struggling with after school activities and wanting to play outdoors - it is a hard balancing act. Great ideas and the homework contract is something I will create today. Really focuses on what we need to be doing.
Jodi, Columbus OH

Anonymous said...

Our problem with a homework routine is that we have too much scheduled after school and all the activities start and end at various times. Also, the children I care for are very tired after school so they need a break and it has been difficult for me to get them to do their homework when they are home because they are tired. The parents have had some crying sessions of homework with overtired kids in the late evenings already this year. A few times last year the mom let them wait until the morning to finish their homework which seems like a huge mistake to me.

I just feel if the parents don't encourage or create a homework schedule it's not my place to do it either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sending me the sample homework contract stephanie! It is so helpful. I had to tweak it for pre-teens and teens and added a lot more stuff because they are older and need to help more and have more responsiblity. We lack school work and afternoon organization. The children are older so it was hard for me to come in and suddenly try to force new responsibilities on kids that used to run the household. I asked the mother and she has agreed that we give the children $1 for every chore I listed on the homework contract without my asking them to do it. If they miss a chore on the contract they pay me back a $1 and it's working!

This is something you have to ask the parents firt though since I would never use my own money for rewards and punishments. But for children of any age over 5 yrs old there is no better motivator than money.

Maryanne, Bryn Mawr PA

Anne Stephanie Cruz said...

Structure is absolutely necessary in making sure that the children develop routinary study habits that will prepare them for bigger responsibilities at school. Some nannies sometimes make the mistake of becoming subordinate to the child when it comes to enforcing rules and responsibilities especially with studying. As a secondary parental aspect, you can stir the childrens study habits with a reaward system, wherein successful study schedule adherance may result to a special desert or an incentive for the child.

anne stephanie cruz said...

As a childcare provider I find it very helpful to gain knowledge on child development psychology principles to better equip myself in determining a good routine when it comes to their homework and follow up learning. A lot of times it’s not a matter of instilling the study habit but creating a love for it, if the child views the activity as a deterrent then the experience will not be as fulfilling.

anne stephanie cruz said...

Many nannies make the mistake of not investing time in determining a point of interest in a child when it comes to studying. It should always be taken in consideration when developing motivation and habit and should be used as a reinforcement mechanism in fostering an affinity for learning. If the child has constant exposure to things which interest him during the learning experience, then you can avoid the feel of boredom or impatience.

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