The environment in which homework is done makes a massive difference to concentration and enthusiasm. There should not be many distractions, yet be a place where your child enjoys studying. Great examples are a tent in the garden (weather permitting) or a tent in the house, a homework den, or a cosy alcove in a corner of your house. It may sound crazy, but children love it! This area should be reserved for studying only, so that it remains fun for a longer period of time, and creates a sense of excitement around doing homework.
Homework goals are a winner with children, as they will be keen do complete their homework in order to get closer to the prize. For younger children, sticker charts work well, especially when they realise that when the chart is complete, there is a much bigger reward. Older children may work better with tokens which add up to a day out or a new computer game. Whatever you decide, make sure you give a reward in the form of stickers or tokens so your child can visualise their progress. Don’t use sweets as a reward!
Music without words such as classical or nature sounds actually helps the brain with concentration and focus for homework. Allow your child to wear head phones or play appropriate music in your house at homework time. Playing music also helps your child to feel like homework is less dull.
The brain needs warming up before homework, as much as the body does before exercise. There are many fun ways of warming up the brain, such as finger drawing on your child’s back and have them guess what you are drawing, getting them to solve a few jokes and riddles, or getting them to spell a few words backwards. These all cause the brain warm up, ready for focus and attention.
Join your child in their homework space and do your own activity, such as write a letter, plan your budget or read a book. It is far less boring for your child to not be alone. You are also creating a good role model of what focus and concentration looks like while ensuring they are not isolated at the same time. This also has the benefit of ensuring that your child always has the right support and encouragement when needed.
Encourage your child to do their homework with a homework buddy. This can make things a lot more interesting, especially if they compare answers and problems with each other after. Set a specific time and date for your child and their buddy to their homework, and lay down the rules. After they can spend some time together having a drink or watching a film. Before you know it, your child can’t wait until homework night comes around again!
We know that Omega-3 DHA is proven to support normal brain function. We can get Omega-3 DHA from oily fish so encourage them to snack on smoked salmon or anchovies. You can even get eggs fortified with DHA so why not offer them slices of hard-boiled egg as a snack.
You can also consider supplementing with Omega 3 DHA if you’re worried that your child doesn’t eat DHA rich food like:
The beneficial effects for brain function are obtained with a daily intake of 250mg DHA.
Have a look at our expert video on the importance of balanced nutrition and diet for your kid’s health: