Good news for back-to-school time. You can get your kids to do their homework without constant prodding. It’s not as hard as it you’d think.

It starts by teaching them a few easy time management skills. Try these essential back-to-school homework tips to help make it happen.

First off, remember: by nature, most kids excel at following patterns. For that reason, they’re more likely to learn decent time management habits if you create easy homework routines they can follow.

Begin by getting your kids involved in the planning (it’s best to do this before school begins, but really, anytime is the best time to get organized). Together, write out a list of their typical daily after-school activities. Use a notebook, poster board or even a dry erase board to create a chart in their rooms. Include the usual things they do—or that you’d like them to do:

  • Homework
  • Play time
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Family time
  • Sets of chores
  • Physical activity
  • Free reading

They have a lot going on. This list will serve as a daily reminder of all activities for which they need to plan time. For pre-teens and teens, you can assign actual time segments for each activity.

Next, create a weekly chart that lists their activities and allows them to put an X-mark or sticker after each activity is completed.

You’ll want to limit some activity time—such as “screen time” with gadgets or video games—so be as detailed as possible. Don’t leave any instructions open for misinterpretation—it’s always the best policy when you’re dealing with kids.

If possible, list out homework activities in detail. Chart specific subjects they study each day based on their school schedule. It will help them balance their study time and ensure that no work slips through the cracks. Otherwise, they might avoid working on subjects they dislike.

Congratulations! You are now doing something for your kids that few parents make the effort to do: focusing their time into a clear and tangible picture. It’s the first step to better homework time management.

For more tips on student time management and other topics, check out the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center and be sure to visit the AT-A-GLANCE website for the latest and greatest time management tools and solutions.

[photo by maxime.mcduff]

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