How can I Help my Child with Homework?

Sherry Holetzky

It's normal for a parent to want to offer help with homework, but it can be a trying experience for both parent and child. There are some things you can do to make the experience less stressful for both of you. Start by making sure your child is not hungry, thirsty, or too tired to study. If she is, give her a snack and a drink and let her rest for a short period of time before beginning.

A parent might help a student with one particular subject.
A parent might help a student with one particular subject.

Many children need a little time to unwind after school before beginning their homework. Going right from class to working on homework or class projects can become overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with allowing your child to take a little break, as long as you make sure she studies at some point during the evening. Give your child the go ahead to relax for a while, and have her let you know when she is ready for help with homework.

Children should be allowed the opportunity to complete work before a parent assists them.
Children should be allowed the opportunity to complete work before a parent assists them.

If your child says he doesn't want your help with homework, ask why. Allow your child to tell you exactly what he is feeling. It may be that he feels you are disappointed in him when he doesn't do well, or he may be embarrassed by needing help with homework. Explain to him that every student needs help at times. Try to approach difficult subjects with patience and a positive attitude.

When your child is ready to work and you are ready to help with homework, choose a spot that is comfortable for both of you. It should also be one that provides plenty of workspace. Gather the items your child will need to complete each task, so he won't be distracted by looking for supplies later. Make sure you choose a quiet area where your child can relax and concentrate. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, ask your spouse or an older student to help with homework for a while.

Remember that no matter how tempting it is to do the work for your child, help with homework is meant to be just that — help. Doing the work yourself will not help your child learn, and it may hurt your child's confidence. She may feel that you don't think she can do the work.

On the other hand, there may be some subjects that you will have trouble with as well. If this is the case, find an alternative source of help with homework for your child. There are homework help sites online and there are various tutoring programs available. You may also be able to hire a tutor to come to your home.

Though helping with homework might seem like a chore now, some day this chore will become part of the cherished memories of childhood days gone by--frustrations and laughs both! Try to enjoy it while you can. And remind yourself, even when your child complains, that you are making a loving difference in your child's life. That alone, should help you face tomorrow's homework!

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Discussion Comments


This was a fantastic article. I remember especially the point about help. My dad used to "help" me write my essays, and my teacher once asked me about a sentence in a piece "I" wrote. She let me off the hook when I didn't know what she was talking about - because I worked hard -- but it won't be a mistake I will make with my kids.

I think building study habits is the most important aspect of assisting with homework. I've heard about online tutoring (for those subjects I am weak in, and cannot help with) - do you agree with this article?

Let me know, or I may just have to relearn all my high school math.

Regards and thanks for the article. Elie


It seems like it is a habit of my daughter to start homework with a bad attitude or that she just doesn't want me to help.

Also, do you have any suggestions to encourage taking more time to avoid careless errors on tests??


Ms. Holetzky writes a lovely piece here. Excellent work and lots of good advice.

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