Children today experience a much faster pace than children experienced even a few generations ago. One of the most commonly cited stressors for children is homework, but does homework cause stress in children or are we just babying them? If homework is a stressor, how can parents help their children handle it?
Does Homework Cause Stress in Children?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. The age where homework starts to stress children is becoming lower, some children even reporting concerning levels of stress due to homework in early elementary school. There are many reasons for this trend, but one of the most common one is the amount of information children are expected to learn is increasing in complexity, and the rate they are expected to learn it is either remain the same or decreasing.
For elementary schools, the shortened recess time puts more pressure on children without allowing them the time to work out their energy and digest what they have learned. This increased pressure is brought home and makes completing homework assignments a difficult task and very stressful for children.
Middle and high schools continue the tough academic pressures. Larger class sizes, shorter break times and strong pressures to perform well on standardized tests all place students under large amounts of stress. All of these factors make completing homework assignments a dubious task. In this setting a student who has questions on various parts of the lesson will have a much harder time getting that personal attention to answer their question, which in turn leads to hours of frustration while trying to complete the homework assignment or an incomplete homework.
How Can Parents Help?
Parents don’t have to just sit on the sideline and watch their children deal with the stress of homework One of the best things parents can do for their children is listen to them and ask questions without judging the answer. Many children are afraid to admit to feeling overwhelmed with homework because they feel like they will be treated as if they are lazy failures. While every parent wants their child to achieve to the best of their ability, it is important to be willing to reduce those pressures if your child beings to act overwhelmed in homework.
Understanding that your child is stressed by homework doesn’t mean that you have to allow them to not try. Often times homework causes stress because they don’t understand a certain concept. Find out what about the homework causes your child stress. Perhaps it is the amount, or perhaps it the content, whatever it is you cannot help if you don’t try to understand.
While many children do well with less organized extra-curricular activities, it is very important to maintain one or two to keep balance in their lives. Instead of dropping all other activities to focus on homework, it would be more beneficial to help your child enhance their time management skills. Work with your child to create a schedule for getting homework done on time. Review the plan every few weeks to make any appropriate modifications.
Thankfully more schools are working to regulate the amount of homework given to help ease the stresses it causes on students, however there will always be children who feel highly stressed by homework. For any child who feels stressed from homework work with them to discover the root reason behind all their stress and work with them to handle it in a healthy manner.