Parents, do you ever find yourself dreading homework time? Not only can homework be a stressful task for students, but it can be very hectic for parents as well. If your child has a learning disability, this can be especially challenging and you might find yourself feeling helpless or discouraged. As frustrating as it sometimes may be, it’s important to remember that many children who have learning disabilities also feel high stress levels while at school. Children thrive when they feel they have a “safe place” to come home to every day. Preventing extra stress at home is key, and one way of doing this is to practice patience. Sometimes that’s easier said than done! Below are 5 tips for remaining patient with your child.
Determine your child’s learning style - It’s easy to grow impatient when your child is not understanding his or her homework and study material. Children have different ways of learning, and sometimes these ways are much different from our own. If your child is a visual learner, looking over pictures, diagrams, or highlighting important material might be beneficial when studying for a test. If your child has an auditory learning style, he or she processes information by listening and may benefit from having you read assignments aloud. Taking into account these different learning styles are helpful when acknowledging your child’s strengths while keeping him or her engaged.
Set time limits - Often parents quickly lose patience due to the lengthy amount of time spent on homework. Establishing limits to help your child with homework is key. Set an alarm and let your child know that you will only be helping during that certain amount of time. While this will help you maintain patience, it also instills self confidence in your child as he or she learns to work independently.
Plan Ahead - Make an agenda each afternoon for how homework and studying will be accomplished. List subjects in order of importance and patiently work through them with your child. If an assignment is too complicated at the time, work ahead to the next assignment and go back to it later. This will help you keep the peace and will also keep your child relaxed which will facilitate the “safe place” you are creating in your home.
Get creative - As we all know now, every child is different and learns in different ways. When homework gets hectic, sometimes it helps to get creative and think outside of the box. Does your child have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time? If so, maybe take them outside to go over spelling words. If your child has difficulties staying focused, come up with fun games to help facilitate studying. Sometimes changes as simple as these can really help to lessen frustrations and avoid the loss of patience for the parent.
Focus on the bigger picture - Although these times may seem very daunting and as if they will never end, there will come a day when homework is a distant memory. Because of this, it’s important to keep things in perspective. While homework and studying may be a challenge right now, remember that “this too shall pass” and changes come with every season.
Overall, every child is different and has it’s own social, emotional, and intellectual qualities. It’s important to value these differences. Children can be very challenging, but of course they are the most rewarding and selfless challenge we will ever endure as parents. Demonstrating patience with your children is a wonderful way of showing them love and understanding. Remember that practicing patience is not always easy, but given a little time, it is definitely achievable!
Laura Doyle serves as Student Support Specialist at Read Write. She has a bachelor's degree is psychology and currently working on her masters. She offers a variety of services to help students cope with the social and emotional aspects of their learning difference.