Six Ways to Help Your Kid Become a Straight-A Student


Arguably the toughest part of having kids is having to relive the worst part of your childhood: homework. Don’t get to thinking the second time around is any easier—the pressures that come with wanting your little one to be the next Einstein (plus the fact that “long division” is no longer a part of your vocabulary) can make helping your tyke with an assignment a nightmare.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few tips from Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist Janel A. Umfress—expanded from September’s Bathroom Minutes spread, “Homework Helper”—getting your kid get an ‘A’ is easy as pie.

Have Supplies at the Ready: “First off, make sure supplies—pens, pencils, paper, scissors—are easily accessible. That way, your child can do the task efficiently and effectively without any distractions.”

Plan it Out: “Oftentimes children get overwhelmed when they have numerous different assignments. Helping them prioritize their work and think about how much time each will take can tremendously smooth out the process. Just remember: It’s important to allow them to choose which assignment they want to get started on first—that way they’ll learn the importance of making their own decisions.

Know When to Help: “In terms of how involved you should be in your child’s assignment, think of it like teaching them to ride a bike. You’re right there behind them if they fall, but you’re letting them do all the work until that happens. If you’re too present as a parent, your kid will get to thinking they can’t do the work without your help.”

Homework is Life: “Helping your child put their schoolwork into context—i.e., applying the lesson at hand to something they know really well, like their favorite outdoor activity or game—is a huge motivator. Plus, learning things that can be applied to the real world is the whole point of getting an education, isn’t it?”

Patience is Key: “It’s important to realize that when a kid says, ‘I can’t do it,’ it could mean they can’t do it in that moment. It’s easy to feel your kid is being oppositional or lazy, but sometimes they just need a soft nudge. Those are the best times to step in and lend a hand.”

Take a Break: “If your child is getting frustrated, take a short break. Down time, whether that be reading a book or playing outside, really encourages creativity. Though, I would recommend staying away from phones and computers, as they can be seriously distracting to a child trying to get their work done.”