Finding the right balance between homework and extra activities

TIMG_2728he little ones are back at school, the clubs have started and the homework is building up, but how do you fit it all

Homework is a positive thing.  It is useful for the teachers to see how much the pupils are picking up in class and what they need more help with.  It’s also reiterating what the child has learnt at school and building on that.  However, it can often cause stress at home, particularly when the child is taking on extra activities and becoming overtired.

 Setting a good homework routine

It’s a good idea to set a routine early in the school year and stick with it.  Some children will work better if they get on with their homework straight from school, while the information is still fresh in their mind.  Others will need a break to relax and a healthy snack before they are able to concentrate properly.

It can help to have a designated homework area which is comfortable and away from distractions.  Make sure they have everything they need, such as pencils, a rubber, ruler and pencil sharpener so they can get on with it without having to keep stopping to search for things.

Set a time limit for the homework each evening, to ensure they have time for other activities and also to relax.  Some children can be easily distracted and what may take ten minutes in school can take a lot longer at home if they have a tendency to daydream or stare out of the window!

Balancing the extra activities

After school clubs and other activities can be beneficial, but it can be difficult to get the right balance between homework, clubs and a social life.  Children also need time to relax and do nothing once in a while!

Planning everything on a calendar can help, making sure to set aside a few playdates and family time too, such as a trip to the cinema or an evening in, playing games.

Children can learn important skills through activities such as sports and drama.  Clubs like this involve lots of social interaction, learning how to work in a team and using up energy.   Young children in particular can learn so much from activities other than homework.  However, some schools will recommend children in Reception year don’t take on any after school clubs as it can be too much for them at this age.

Older children taking part in various extracurricular activities can be encouraged to manage their own time efficiently.  If they need to travel to clubs perhaps they could use this time to read or take revision cards with them.

Homework and activities are both important but the most difficult thing is leaning how to balance them.  If you think your child is taking on too much, ask them to consider stopping one of their activities and maybe picking it up again the following year.  Alternatively, if you think they are consistently given too much homework or it is proving too challenging for them, discuss it with your child’s teacher.  Just as importantly, make sure your child has enough free time to relax, play and have fun!

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