The Learning Academy: Study Time
Amanda Setlak, Ph.D. Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health
I think it's really important to have a designated study time for several reasons. The first and most important, I think, is just having a routine. If kids learn that when they come home from school, they're going to do their homework and it's going to go that way every day, you'll get a lot less resistance.
It also teaches some important skills, independence, organization, and it teaches them the value of hard work.
Parents are going to have to be involved in one way or another and the extent of their involvement may vary. For sure in the elementary and middle school years it's important to set up the routine, set up a daily routine.
Sit down with them and talk to them about what their homework is, how much time they think it's going to take, what order they're going to do it in and provide that support.
Rule of thumb is 10 minutes per grade level. If your child is spending more than that and significantly more than that, I think it's time to talk to the teacher and figure out how can we adjust their workload.
If your child needs a quiet area, and they can work independently at a desk in their room, that's fine. Some kids might need a more public area but if it's going to be in a public area, it needs to be removed of distractions. So the T.V. isn't on and everybody's not running around. Either way, you are going to need to be checking on them and making sure they are doing what they need to be doing.
Homework is often approached as a chore or something to be dreaded and I think that has a lot to do how it is set up and the way it's treated by parents, school and other kids.
The more we can set it up as a positive experience and really give kids lots of attention and praise for what they're doing, just like you would for sports, they would be a lot more likely to do their homework and not see it as such a dreaded task.
A study time routine is important to establish with your child. Amanda Setlak, psychologist with the Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health, explains how long study time should be, the best place for study time, and what role parents need to play.