By: Jolene Roehlkepartain
When kids spend more time doing homework (and doing it well), they’re more likely to succeed in school. Research has also identified other benefits for young people to spend time doing homework. Read more >
• Better mental health
• Lower drug use
• Higher test scores
• Higher grades
• Better scientific literacy
• Fewer behavior problems
The U.S. Department of Education has identified specific ways that parents can help their kids do homework—and do it well. Use this checklist to help your kids succeed in getting started and finishing their homework.
- Ask about your school’s homework policy. (Your child’s teacher will know this.)
- Work with your child’s teacher. If you have any concerns, talk with the teacher.
- Set a regular time for homework.
- Help your child pick a place to do homework.
- Create ways for your child to get organized.
- Remove distractions.
- Provide school supplies.
- Set a good example. Do homework side by side with your child when your child is young. Your homework might be making a grocery list or doing a project from work.
- Be interested in your child’s homework and make doing homework interesting. Talk about the assignment with your child.
- Be available to help your kids with their homework.
- Look over your kids’ completed assignments. Ask questions.
- Monitor the time your kids watch TV and play video games. Make sure they’re not rushing through their homework to do these activities.
- Encourage good study habits. Monitor your kids so they’re not dawdling, procrastinating, or rushing.
- Watch for frustration. Help your kids figure out what to do if they get stuck or overwhelmed.
- Be proud of your kids when they complete their homework and do it well. Tell them how proud you are.
As kids grow, they’ll go through stages where they’ll need your guidance (and boundaries) in doing homework. For example, most parents are surprised that kids who complete their homework as elementary-age students suddenly can lose (or forget) their homework study skills as they enter middle school and again as they enter high school. This is normal. If this happens, pull out this checklist again and work with your teenager to create strong homework habits. The more you can help them during the teenage years, the more you’ll help prepare them for college and the workforce.
1. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communication and Outreach, Helping Your Child with Homework (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2005).
2. Free homework tips from the U.S. Department of Education.
3. Peter Scales and Nancy Leffert, Developmental Assets: A Synthesis of the Scientific Research on Adolescent Development (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1999), 123.
4. School Success.
5. Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, ParentFurther.
6. Image via peapodsquadmomon Flick’r.