Occupational Therapy Tips for Homework Success
(Provided by AOTA, The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.)
Homework. The term often instills dread among students. Back-to-school time is a good opportunity to review work and study habits that promote academic success. Consider these tips to help your child establish good habits and reduce the stress of his or her homework.
Promote active play and physical activities that are alternated with more sedentary activities such as homework and computer tasks. Carefully placed homework breaks reduce fatigue and support students' attention and concentration.
Create a system to monitor homework assignments and their completion. Your child should be encouraged to manage his or her schedule by using a planner to organize activities.
Monitor your child's level of frustration and amount of time necessary to complete assignments. Seek advice when appropriate from school personnel, including OTs, about your child's performance in school. Work as a team to support his or her academic and emotional needs.
Develop a homework plan that best meets the needs of your child. Consider sensory needs or distractions, like hunger fatigue or noise, as well as habits and preferences to determine the best times to complete homework assignments. Some children work best before dinner time, and others need a rest break after school before completing homework assignments.
Work in an area with proper lighting that avoids glare and reflections. Limit eye strain by following the "20/20/20" rule: take a break every 20 minutes, stop for 20 seconds, and look at least 20 feet away from the homework or computer monitor.
When using a computer, encourage the child to work comfortably and shift position often. If your child uses a notebook computer, set it up with a separate keyboard and mouse and adjust the notebook to be used only as a monitor.