task anxiety

Today, when success and achievement have become such an important part of one’s future, children often begin to experience anxiety in school and, essentially, in homework. This can occur at any age, but is mostly noticeable in the pre-teens. School work becomes more advanced and they are assigned tasks that require more thought and time. They are encouraged to think about what they are learning and expand on the topics. This challenges them in a good way, although many feel that it is not as simple a task as it was in the past.

The best way to deal with this is to provide the student with an organized homework plan and study skills that will make homework much simpler and easier to manage, instead of that “dreaded nightly ritual.”

homework skills

Time management and organization- Establish a definite time after school or after dinner dedicated to homework. Allowing the right amount of time for homework is essential, as you don’t want your child still awake at 11:00 pm with only half of their homework completed.

task environment- Choose a room that is quiet and an area free of technology, unless they need a computer to do homework. Turn off all smartphones so they don’t ring or ring while you’re on task. Turn off the televisions so all focus is on the task, rather than “juggling” or doing two things at once.

prioritize- Decide which assignments are most important, such as which ones are due the next day. These are the ones to approach first. Time is of the essence, so make sure the focus is on what’s most important.

Tests- Studying for exams requires gradual study, rather than cramming at the last minute. Tell your child that it is much easier to gradually learn and assimilate than to try to remember things that he is simply memorizing at the last minute. Encourage them to discuss their topics and ask questions of their teachers and parents if they are unclear about certain aspects of the topic. Flash cards and quizzes are other useful ways to study and help absorb information.

Nutrition- The foods one eats also play an important role in how one learns and absorbs material. Eating a meal rich in protein, good carbohydrates, and fats will help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, making studying and homework much easier. It also naturally increases serotonin in the brain, which elevates mood and creates a less reactive individual. Good nutrition equals better endurance and a sense of well-being. A calm individual will always perform better. Thinking on an empty stomach often suffers. The brain requires proper nutrition to stay in the learning zone. A protein snack (real food) before doing homework will increase the ability to concentrate and retain information

Exercise- Always allow time outside for exercise before or after homework. This burns off excess energy, quiets the mind and relaxes you to sit and focus. It increases endorphins and promotes the ability to focus on studies. Outdoor activity is recommended as outdoor light helps increase serotonin levels in the brain. Even cloudy days are brighter and more beneficial than indoor lighting.

Homework frustration If your child is struggling with a subject and has attended all classes, it is imperative that you speak with the teacher. Find out where the difficulty lies and what your child can do to improve understanding. Is there extra credit they can do or does this teacher offer “extra help” sessions “in school” or after school or tutoring in the subject? Are there student tutors at your school who offer help at affordable prices or outside tutors who specialize in specific subjects? Never hesitate to seek additional help, as this could put your child on the right track in a short period of time. Often a few sessions give them the understanding they need.

Remember, homework is not punishment. So make it a pleasant experience. Explain to your child that homework is about learning things that are interesting and exciting. Not all topics may feel this way at first, but if he discusses them in a spirited way, it can pique her interest in the topic. Anything can be made more interesting if approached correctly. The goal is to make learning fun.

Help with homework- Naturally, there will be times when your child asks for help with homework, and that’s okay. Just remember that homework is for your child, not you. It is to make them think about what they learned in class and use their own mind to apply the answers. Discuss the questions with them and always ask, “What do you think?” Let them tell you, instead of you providing the answers. This way you will be useful, without doing the work and they will feel sure that they did it themselves.

Above all, let your children know that learning and education is something that makes them more interesting people. It allows them to discuss many topics with friends and family. It paves the way for a future that includes topics and ideas that they may want to learn more about so they can pursue their dreams in life.

It’s about perspective. The goal is to make the task less burdensome. Understand that there is a purpose in the task and this is to make them see things from all sides and perspectives. A lot depends on how you, as a parent, also approach homework. Never treat homework as a punishment, “Go do your homework, NOW!” but as an opportunity to put learning to good use. This, and your tone, are key to inspiring your child to approach homework in a less anxious way.

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