How to Help Kids With Homework (Without Actually Doing it Yourself)

It’s hard to watch your child struggle with homework. Here are 3 supportive ways one mom sets her child up for homework success.

Parents play an important role during the homework hours. If you or your child is ready to throw in the towel most nights, don’t despair. In this article, I’ll give you strategies to help you prevent and put out fires that can often make those precious after-school hours draining.


While there is a great ongoing debate about whether homework should even be assigned in the first place, if your child receives homework, you need to be equipped with the tools to turn homework time into an experience that’s meaningful and empowering.

Reasons Children Struggle with Homework

There are legitimate reasons why children struggle with homework. Never assume your child is lazy. These are common reasons parents battle with their children over homework:

  • The assignment is too difficult, or it was not well understood in class
  • Not enough practice with the concept
  • Parents might use a different teaching method than the one used in school
  • Parents might use a different teaching method than the one best suited for their child
  • Miscommunication with the school/teacher
  • Inadequate space in the home to concentrate
  • Child is tired or hungry
  • Books and materials forgotten at school
  • Child depends on the parent to help and won’t do the work unless the parent is available to sit beside them
  • Learning difficulties (both diagnosed and not)
  • Too much homework assigned for child’s abilities

How to Help Your Child with Homework

While you may feel inclined to help your child with homework, don’t fall into the trap of doing the homework for them. You do your child a disservice by filling in the blanks for them since homework is also meant to help teachers know if your child is struggling with a particular concept. You want to empower your child, and not teach them learned helplessness (i.e.: that they cannot do anything without the help of an adult).

Here are 3 positive ways you can help your child with homework:

Keep a positive attitude about homework.

Even if you feel homework should disappear, let your child know that you support the teacher and school. If you demonstrate that you value homework, your child will take it more seriously too.

Before your child begins homework, give them time to unwind, change, eat a snack, and possibly spend a little time outdoors. This tells your child that you understand the need to recharge before tackling school work again.

Praise your child for effort and for their academic skills, even if he struggles with certain concept. Reassure them that you will communicate with the school to teach them strategies for learning. Use positive phrases like, “I know this is challenging right now, but if you practice a little bit each night, you will be subtracting in no time!”

Create a homework zone.

Even if you have a small home, designate a space for your child to do homework. The area can be as big as an entire room, like an office or studio, or as small as a desk in a corner of the dining room. Involve your child in preparing the space by having them choose the surface they work on, the lamp/lighting they prefer, and the materials they store there. Have some common supplies (pencils, glue, paper, etc.) available so that if your child forgets them at school, it won’t prevent them from completing the work.

Don’t be too strict about having your child sit to work. If your child is a tactile/kinesthetic learner, they will want to move around to recite math facts or manipulate a fidget toy while reading a chapter of their book.

Maintain open communication with the teacher.

Let your child’s teacher know if your child is struggling with a particular concept. A quick note explaining that homework needs extra help at home will signal to your child’s teacher that they will need to reinforce the concept in the classroom.

If your child finds the homework too easy, let the teacher know this as well. You can work together to find homework that is appropriate for your child.

The best partnership you can have is with your child’s school. Even if it’s intimidating, remember that teachers and school staff are committed to your child’s future academic success. Listen to the feedback and solutions provided by your child’s school and try to implement them. Always have a follow-up plan with the teacher.

With some time and effort upfront, your child can work towards independence during the homework hours. Before long, you`ll witness academic growth in your child!

Tools to Improve Your Homework Routine

DVD: It’s 10:00PM: Don’t You Have Homework to Do? 

Topics in this one-hour video include: Executive Functioning and how it affects students, new student organizing products (not found in stores), homework helpers including homework and time management games, how external communicators can increase motivation, and tips for kicking procrastination to the curb.

Home- Good Puppy Children Behavioral System

If you need specific support with teaching and motivating your child at home, this kit is designed to aid parents in the management of children’s behavior. Founded on four levels, each with a unique color, name, image and remark, stating good or wrong choices and implying consequences, the system is designed with empathetic imagery and multiple correspondences that children understand from a very young age. The GOOD PUPPY® Children Behavioral System puts children in charge of their own status and in control of their own behavior, bringing confrontations, negotiations and negative attention seeking to a minimum with a simple question: WHAT’S YOUR PUPPY?

Sensory Stixx Hand Fidget

For the tactile/kinesthetic learning, this fidget offers its user a hand sized instant sensory stimulation and draws little attention to itself in order to avoid anxiety from other onlookers. Easily fits in pocket, purse, or book bag and is dishwasher safe. Unit measures 4.75 inches long and is suitable for ages 3 to adult.


About the All-Star Blogger

GabriellaGabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities. She helps parents find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. She also helps after-schooling families of children with special needs navigate their way around the homework hours. You can find her