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669 Broadway
Massapequa, NY, 11758
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(516) 799-2900

Sensational Development Occupational Therapy of Massapequa, NY provides skilled, child-centered individual and group intervention for children ages birth through 21 who may be experiencing difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, academics, play, social skills, organization, coordination, and behavior. We have teamed up with some of the most dynamic and passionate instructors and we are thrilled to now be offering Yoga! Please call for scheduling and reservations.

Homework Tips and Strategies

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Blog posts by the staff at sensational development. We post information and topics of interest for our clients.

 

Homework Tips and Strategies

Sara Rutledge

We hope everyone has had a smooth transition back to school and of course, back into the homework routine. Homework time can be a stressful time for both students and their parents.  Here are some tips and strategies to help smooth the process. Do you have any additional tips that are useful in your home? Please share in the comments below!

  • Provide calming or alerting strategies before homework (heavy work activities or oral and respiratory activities such as bubble mountain).
  • Allow use of handheld fidget toys/manipulatives during homework.
  • Provide breaks as needed- give choices of sensory breaks to choose from (animals walks, wall push-ups, chewy/crunchy snacks).
  • Create a visual schedule or a written homework plan. Alternate x minutes of homework and x min for a break, allow/help child to choose activity for their break.
  • Use movement (bouncing a ball on the correct flashcard, jumping on a trampoline or swinging on a swing, bouncing on an exercise ball) for memory type homework such as studying for a test or spelling. 
  • Some children like additional proprioceptive feedback when trying to focus. Sitting next to your child can help provide physical contact as needed.
  • Change positions, especially with little ones: Place paper on vertical surface and complete work standing; lie on the floor and complete work on stomach (using a binder or slant board); have child sit on therapy ball or ‘move and sit’ cushion to provide body with movement while sitting.
  • Set up a ‘quiet’ corner in the house. Place beanbags, pillows, blankets to make environment comfortable and non-distracting. Allow your child to complete homework while in a squish box or bean bag chair, using a clipboard.
  • Decrease extraneous sensory stimuli: limit clutter, visual and auditory distractions.
  • Sometimes music can help: try low frequency rhythmic music in the background or using headphones. Some children benefit from noise canceling headphones, even when the house is quiet. This can cut out background noise such as the fan or traffic outside.
  • Pre-K and K: make homework as fun as possible. Incorporate multi-sensory strategies as much as you can (use playdoh, shaving cream, pipe cleaners, beads, etc)
  • When seated at a desk or table always consider proper positioning. Hips, knees and ankles should be at 90 degrees and the desk or work surface should be around elbow height. Allow for movement and positional changes as needed. Try lying on the floor, taping homework to the wall or underside of a table, lie over a ball etc.
  • Help your child break down the homework. When homework gets piled on it is easy to become overwhelmed and shut down before even attempting the task.
  • If your child is easily overwhelmed visually, cover up a worksheet so only one problem or a line of problems are visible at a time.
  • Be mindful of your child's attitude and thought patterns when doing homework. We want to curb negative thought patterns, not only with homework, but all areas of childhood. Be sure to point out their strengths; "Wow, what great problem solving!", "That was a creative answer!", "look at how nicely you wrote that sentence!"
  • The power of yet: if your child is struggling with a topic or lesson and you hear the famous words, "I can't _____", add the word YET! This is a powerful word that reinforces that we will get there. We are learning and just haven't mastered that problem yet.
  • If your child has a IEP, consider homework modifications. It is important to focus on quality, not quantity.  For example, when we practice handwriting in the clinic, once a child writes a letter or word well, with proper formation, size and line placement, they move on. 
  • If your child, especially those in grades 3+, is having a hard time with a homework or a specific topic, encourage them to write to their teacher or make a note of it, showing they attempted it.
  • A designated space for homework can be good, but for some families having a few spaces also works, allowing your child a choice of spaces.
  • Create a homework bin that has necessary supplies for completing homework so your child isn’t wandering around the house looking for a pencil or ruler.    
  • Use graphic organizers, computer programs such as inspiration/kidspiration.
  • Especially with math and the current academic curriculum, there is a lot of breaking down multi-step problems and drawing within small space. Encourage re-writing the problem onto a larger space. This may not be possible during testing, but to ensure understanding and success with homework it may be allowed. Check with your child’s teacher.