4. Conduct an audit.
Busy parents know that it's difficult to check every assignment each child has night after night. The Internal Revenue Service keeps taxpayers in line with random audits. You can do the same in your home by auditing homework a few times per week. Let's say that you have a family policy that all homework must be done by 9pm otherwise privileges are taken away the following day. At that time, ask to see your child's homework. Praise him or her if the work is done. If it's not done, rescind privileges such as leaving the house after school the following day to see friends or watching television.
5. Take a one-hour timeout.
A one-hour timeout is meant to be time away from anything that flashes, beeps, or has a screen. Choose 60 minutes every weekday (the hour immediately following dinner works well) and make that a mandatory quiet time. In our fast-paced world, we're bombarded by loud noises which can cause over-stimulation, agitation, and anxiety. During this time, there should be no iPods, televisions, video games, computers, or phones. Instead, consider activities such as reading independently or together, doing a puzzle, or playing cards. You may find that simply leaving craft supplies out encourages creativity. A one-hour timeout also forces kids who would usually be glued to electronics to go outside to play or get together with neighborhood friends.
It takes a concerted effort to manage stress. Choose one or two of these ideas that might work for you and implement them for at least 21 days to see change. Remember, research shows that it truly takes 21 days to modify a habit!
Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc. and author of the book “Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework.” Learn more at ectutoring.com.