Jennie James

Jennie James

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What To Say to Your Child About Homework

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If you've got a child who's frustrated by homework, it can be tough to stay calm, cool, and collected. 

Instead of: “I don’t understand how they teach math today.”

Say: “I learned math differently. Look in your workbook and try to figure it out.”

Instead of: “Why don’t you add another sentence to this paragraph?”

Say: This is a really interesting essay. I’d like to know more.”

Instead of: “The answer is 38.”

Say: “Take it one step at a time. I’m here if you get stuck.”

Instead of: “This doesn’t make sense.”

Say: “This is confusing to me too. Let’s write a note to your teacher.”

Instead of: “If you don’t finish your homework you’ll get a bad grade.”

Say: “Do your best. Your teacher and I care about effort, not being perfect.”

A good rule of thumb: Parents should be less involved with the assignments and more so with the teacher, says Cathy Vatterott, Ph.D., professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and founder of the educational site

If homework is causing your kid serious distress or crowding out playtime or sleep, schedule an in-person appointment.


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