Avoiding Chaos During Homework Time As a Single Parent

There are a lot of challenges facing single parents, but what a lot of people don’t realize is just how stressful homework time for single parents can be. For a lot of people this does not seem like a priority, especially when they are trying to focus on making ends meet.

However your child’s homework is related directly to their likely success at school and it is therefore important to ensure that the homework is completed well and on time. This article will provide you with a few steps that you may find helpful in avoiding chaos during homework time as a single parent.

Difficult homework

One thing that can make homework time for single parents especially difficult is if the child perceives the homework as being too difficult. If the homework is too difficult then the child will try to avoid the homework at all costs. To deal with this you will have to:

  • Look into the cause
  • Speak to the teacher
  • Speak to your child

In the conversation you have with your child’s teacher it should come to light whether or not the problem affects the whole class or if it is just your child who is suffering the consequences. If it affects the entire class then hopefully the teacher will adjust his or her level of homework assignments. If it affects just your child decisions will need to be made about how you and the teacher can work together to help your child understand the work better.

Confusing homework

Another thing that can make homework time for single parents is when the work is too confusing. This will have similar effects to the previous point in that the child is likely to try to avoid the homework if possible.
The trick here is to be patient. Don’t assume that the child doesn’t understand because they were not paying enough attention. They may well have hearing or information-processing problems. If it is a persistent problem that covers several different areas of schooling you should have your child assessed appropriately to ascertain the type and degree of the problem that he or she may (or may not) have.

Low-quality and boring homework

Children have standards when it comes to homework and if the work is:

  • Dull
  • Too easy
  • Too low-quality

The child will try to avoid the assignments which can make homework time for single parents very difficult indeed. Your child needs to understand that there are going to often be situations in life where the work that is required of you is dull or pointless but that needs to be done anyway. If the problem seems to occur all the time you should speak to the teacher. Teacher’s often do not realize that the assignments they give can be perceived as pointless and not worth doing by the children and will more than likely appreciate your feedback on the matter and adjust the assignments they give accordingly.

Disorganized child

Sometimes a big factor in homework time for single parents is not that a child doesn’t want to do the homework but rather that they are disorganized. For example:

  • Your child may bring home the book but forget the assignment
  • Your child may bring home the assignment but forget the book
  • Your child may forget both necessary items for the completion of the assignment
  • Your child is unable to judge or manage time

In cases like these your child may make homework time for single parents difficult unintentionally. They may even want to do the assignment, but can’t because they forgot something at school. This can happen to even the most intelligent children. The best thing to do is to look into articles and books that have advice on dealing with this situation.

Intrusive homework

A big problem facing families when it comes to homework time for single parents is that children feel that the homework is cutting into their playtime. This is obviously true. You child needs to learn that playing cannot be a 24 hour a day activity. However, it is also important to note that children need to pay in order to achieve optimal development. So the point that we need to make here s that a balance needs to be found in order to ensure that your child is doing enough homework and doing enough playing. In many cases homework consumes all playtime, but this is not ideal. You need to work out a schedule for you and your child so that they don’t feel the need to lie about how much homework they have just to get a few hours extra of playtime.

Over involved parents

Some of the problems that arise during homework time for single parents are created by the parents themselves. They can do this by:

  • Demanding perfection at all times and being highly critical if this is not achieved. Some parents force their children to do the same assignment over and over until it is ‘perfect’, and this is time consuming and disrespectful.
  • Hovering over their children and making remarks constantly. This gives the child the impression that they are unable to do any of the work themselves and in their own time.
  • Being too enthusiastic about giving answers. Some children hate to ask their parents about homework and will rather deny its existence then risk sending hours discussing a simple query that could have been solved with a yes/no answer.

Unmotivated children

Many children are unmotivated, which poses a big problem for homework time for single parents. However there are also a number of children that are not unmotivated but who are rather concerned about protecting their egos. Some children believe that failure in a homework tasks is the same as being labeled as stupid and they therefore avoid doing the homework altogether in order to avoid this label. You need to look carefully into the reasons behind why your child or children are struggling to find the energy to get the work done. There are many reasons for this and the best way to find them is through discussion with your child.

Too much homework

A big problem when it comes to homework time for single parents is that often your child is simply given more homework than he or she can cope with. This is not your child’s fault. On average your child should be spending the following amounts of time on homework:

  • Grades K-2: about 10-20 minutes
  • Grades 3-6: about 30-60 minutes
  • Grades 7-12: will vary

If they are unable to complete all of the work they are given within this time limit then they are probably being given too much. In this case the best way to deal with the situation is through conversation with the teacher who will hopefully be able to adjust the amount of homework given accordingly. Find out if the whole class is affected or if it is just your child, because then there could be other reasons for taking too long.

A noisy environment

Another problem that frequently arises in terms of homework time for single parents is that of there being too much noise. Sometimes children simply cannot focus on the work that they are meant to do because it is too noisy in the home. They may have younger brothers and sisters who are playing. They may have to content with the television or with the music form an older sibling’s bedroom. Closing them in a room does not usually help as muffled sounds can be even more annoying. Trying to set aside a period of time each day as “quiet time” for the entire family may be a solution to this, but you may struggle to enforce it.

A child alone

This is almost the opposite side of the coin to over involved parenting. A problem that can arise during homework time for single parents is that of a child being too alone. Some children need the constant guidance that some parents are willing to offer in order to get through the work. Some children cannot get through their homework without being continually encouraged. You will need to make a decision as early on as possible whether or not your child works better alone or with your help. You will also need to remember that this status can change as a child develops. A child needing a lot of guidance at the beginning of school may need less and less as they progress through the various grades. You need to be aware of your child’s needs and adapt your strategies accordingly.

The above tips should help you to get through homework time for single parents and their children quickly and easily. Some days will be easier than others and you need to remember that your child’s moods will be affected as often as your own. You cannot expect your child to be consistently happy to be trapped inside doing homework, but you can make the entire process easier for everyone.