Many children experience anxiety about homework.
Some children are perfectionists, they are fearful that they are not doing their homework right. Others have a hard time due to an inability to organize themselves and manage their time. Some children find it hard to focus and attend to task whether it’s because they are tired after a whole day at school or because of ADHD. Children with learning issues and communication disorders will often struggle with homework. They worry about failing and being embarrassed in front of their class.
Family conflict can also cause homework anxiety. Divorce, a move, a new baby, or even being bullied, can all make it difficult for a child to attend to their homework. Then there is the problem of a teacher assigning to much homework.
According to Peters and Mayers, the author of “Overcoming School Anxiety” children who suffer from homework anxiety:
• Become increasingly stressed when faced with homework
• Forget to bring assignments home, or deny having any work assigned
• Try to get out of going to school
• Exhibit anxiety symptoms, such as frequent stomachaches, headaches, shortness of breath, or tightness in the chest when faced with doing homework or projects
• Have trouble sleeping
• Have tantrums and can be angry and irritable when doing homework
• Show symptoms of depression, sadness or withdrawal
Peters and Mayers suggest the following strategies to help children with homework anxiety:
1. Empathize with your child:
“Homework can be tricky sometimes…”
“Homework can feel challenging…”
2. Encourage them to find a solution:
“We are going to look into some strategies that can help you…”
“We are going to figure this out…”
“Lets put our heads together and get to the bottom of the problem.”
3. Go fishing:
Try to find out what exactly is bothering the child about their homework. Do they not understand the directions, the material? Do they not feel comfortable asking their teacher for help?
4. Problem solve:
It is helpful to figure out with your child the things that could make homework easier for them. You can ask them if they have the materials that they need? A quiet space?
What time are they doing their homework- are they too tired? Do they need some time to relax before they can tackle it?
We can help our children with homework anxiety, empathy, encouragement, gentle probes and an attitude of problem solving can help.
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Call us at 216-896-0111
Peters-Mayer D., (2008) Overcoming School Anxiety. Amacom Books. NY