Three Ways to Get Your Kids Back in the Groove of School and Homework

by Elizabeth Sautter

As a parent, I am eternally grateful to the teachers that educate my kids. School is one of society’s great inventions. 

But whether it’s the start of the year, going back after a holiday break, or going back after something as short as a weekend – kids often complain about school.

My kids are still saying that they wish they were on holiday break and that they “don’t want to go to school and that the weekends go by so fast…” 

Or “It feels like one minute and Monday is here again.”  

And the dreaded “I hate homework”… 

It’s entirely possible that we (and you) might have been a little lax over the holidays, adding to the difficulty. Whether it’s staying up late, sleeping in late, eating too many sweets, no schedule or just simply relaxed rules around screen time – all these disruptions make it a little rough for kids to go back to business as usual.

As a parent, it’s hard to watch your kids struggle, so with my own, I dug a little deeper into their complaints. As it turns out, it’s not the prospect of school itself that they seem to mind – it’s the extra weight of “all that homework.”

This seems to be a rather common issue with kids, and since, as we all know, homework is a necessary part of growing up, we thought you might find the following tips especially helpful.

Tip #1

Acknowledge and validate that it is hard for kids (and adults!) to get back into a routine. 

Start by giving your child your full attention. 

Get down to their level (if they are still smaller than you).

Look into their eyes, letting them see and feel that you really understand how they are feeling.

Calmly validate their feelings and say something like, “I understand that you are frustrated and this is not easy.”

When you speak to your kids in a calm, validating way, you will help them calm down too. You If you let them feel their feelings, without trying to “fix” the problem – you help them be open to solutions, simply be just being present with them.

Tip #2

Get your child back on a regular sleep routine. 

There are a couple of ways to achieve this. A few days before break is over, start bedtime earlier and closer to their normal bedtime. 

Also try to infuse fun, humor, and connection into the bedtime routine. In our house we have put the pets to bed as a family and snuggle with them as well as each other.

In addition to going to bed on time, as the holiday break draws to an end, don’t let your kids sleep in anymore either. I know this one is hard, because we all like to sleep in a little – but it really helps kids start back into a school day routine. 

Tip #3

Always remember, the time to problem-solve homework reluctance is not during homework time! 

Engage in proactive solutions by finding a time when your child is calm and in a good mood, and then try the “notice and explore” technique. 

Notice: “I notice that you have had a hard time starting/finishing your hw since coming back from holiday break.” 

Explore: “What’s up?” 

Then, ask your child if they have any ideas for getting back in the swing of things. You might be surprised at some of the solutions they come up with. 

When I tried this with my own child, my older son told me that he was going to stay after school and try to get some work done in the library.  My younger son asked to find a new focus area to get his work done.

Sometimes letting your kids settle in and have a snack before diving into homework helps. My younger son is always starving when he gets home, and as such is always a little “hangry” (hungry + angry). Get that kid a snack, and his mood changes like magic. 

Understanding that homework is a part of life doesn’t make it any easier – but we hope these tips help you help your kids get through this time in their lives!

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