Do Students Need
A Homework Break?
Is A Homework Break Necessary?
At virtually every one of my homework presentations and workshops, a parent wants to know if they should let their children have a homework break, and if so, how long should it be?
Some students need homework breaks; others do not. Some need short breaks; others need a good amount of time to relax and unwind.
As any parent with more than one child can attest, each child is unique. For example, my daughter likes to come home and get started on her homework immediately- she does not need or want a break. My son, on the other hand, falls apart if he can't have a snack, watch TV, play. He definitely needs a break, but if I'm not careful, his "break" will be 15 hours long and his homework will never get done! It wouldn't make any sense for my children to have the same kind of homework break, rules or routine.
What works for one child may not work for another, which is why I recommend parents take my Homework Personality Quiz to determine what works best for each child.
After taking the quiz, a parent can decide if a child needs a homework break (most kids do) and how long it should be. Here's an article about sandwiching homework in between two fun activiites, a process I call making Homework Sandwiches.
Things to Remember About
- Parents, please set a time limit for all breaks! Do NOT rely on yourself or your child to keep track of the clock. Make your life easier and use a timer. I use the one on the microwave. As soon as that thing dings- break's over!
A timed, regular, agreed-upon break is better than an spur-of-the-moment break; and, the absolute worst kind of all is the Begging Break which occurs when you beg, cajole or plead with a child to finish his homework. This kind of interaction wears you out, makes you and your child cranky- and prolongs your family's homework agony. It is much smarter to build a homework break into your child's regular routine. Now, you have one less thing to deal with, debate and discuss!
If your child has been working longer than usual on a project or assignment, then, of course, it is fine to let them have an extra break. Usually, though, one break is enough. The problem with a whole bunch of unplanned breaks is that homework time is prolonged for the entire family. Remind your kids that each break means homework will take even longer to finish.
Warning: your children will try to test you and your Single, Fancy, Planned & Timed Break! Yes, they may know and understand that there will be one 30 minute homework break after school, but that won't stop them from wanting three 40 minute breaks. Kids are supposed to test their parents; it's in their job description! It is perfectly okay for them to ask, and it is perfectly okay for you to say no.
- So, parents, stick to your guns! If the break is 30 minutes, it's 30 minutes. Don't cave in and allow one more video game, TV until the next commercial, a few more minutes on the phone.
Here's a thought: if children have enough time away from studying and homework (evenings, weekends, holidays), they won't constantly need so many breaks. Hmmm...
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