Children and homework often don’t mix – and the challenges may be even greater with occupational therapy challenges are involved. As you begin to think ahead to the next academic year, set your sights on work and study habits for your students that will promote academic success. These will include tactics and approaches to homework that will result in enhanced motivation, learning and confidence versus tears and frustration.
Help Students Establish Good Habits
Like virtually every aspect of a child’s education, homework success is based on a strong partnership between teachers, therapists, parents and students. Suggest these tips to eliminate homework-related stress and put regular, firm habits in place:
Set up a homework station.
It should be free of clutter and noise and away from distractions, such as TV, phones and video games. Keep it organized and supplied with pens, pencils, paper and other needed supplies – maybe even a healthy snack or two!
It’s never too early for good ergonomics.
Children should do homework while sitting in firm chairs with their feet planted on the floor or a foot rest. An office chair is a great option, as it can be adjusted to exactly the right height. A child’s back should be supported against a backrest. Good posture prevents back or neck stress and makes it easier to comfortably complete assignment.
Build in break times.
Encourage children to take a stretch break every 20 minutes. Promote active play and physical activities alternated with homework time. This reduces fatigue and boredom and enhances concentration.
Develop a plan and a schedule.
Consider your students’ sensory needs and any potential distractions, such as hunger or fatigue. Determine their preferences for the best time to complete homework assignments. Some children work best before dinner, for instance, or right afterwards. Students should be encouraged to manage their schedules using a planner. This gives them more ownership and control, which further builds motivation.
Optimize the environment.
Be sure children are working in areas with proper lighting. Limit eye strain by following the 20/20/20 rule: Take a break every 20 minutes, stop for 20 seconds, and look at least 20 feet away from the homework or computer monitor.
What other plans, resources or career advice do you need as you take a breather, enjoy the summer and at the same time, think ahead to your upcoming plans and future steps? This is a great time to reach out to a professional recruiter who specializes in school-based therapy. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services team today.