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Getting back into good homework and study habits after summer break may prove challenging for some students, but it is not impossible.

Amy Broemmel, an associate professor of elementary and literacy education, offers these tips to parents to help their children transition back into school life.

1. Find their rhythm—Are students better studying right after they get home? Or do they need a break and a snack first?

“It’s really individual, and you have to know your kids,” Broemmel said. “Just like adults, kids have rhythms. Teens are more alert later in the day. Knowing and allowing them to go with what works for them is important.”

2. Discourage multitasking—Parents should discourage students from doing homework while they have their phone on or they’re on the computer.

“Humans aren’t good at multitasking even though kids like to think they are,” Broemmel said. “One of the things parents can do is to say, ‘We’re in the homework zone. We’re not going to be texting friends or be on Facebook.'”

3. Take active breaks—Break up long stretches of homework with physical activity, whether it’s going outside to play or frolicking with the dog. After thirty minutes of homework, a ten-minute break might be in order.

“If a child is frustrated, moving forward is not going to do anything for the learning,” Broemmel said.

4. Model good behavior—Parents should not watch TV while their children are doing homework. Sit at the table with them and pay bills or read a book. Or you can be fixing dinner so that you’re nearby to answer questions.

5. Build up success—If you have a child who struggles with doing homework, do the easy stuff first to build momentum and lead up to the harder stuff.

“If it’s a kid who breezes through homework, start with the harder stuff and work backward,” Broemmel said.

Parents might have a harder time helping children with homework as they move into higher grades. Broemmel encourages them to talk with the teacher, regardless of their students’ academic level—elementary, middle, or high school.

“In a vast majority of cases, teachers are going to be thankful and responsive because you ask,” she said.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,