By Wendy Harron - October 9, 2014
By this point in the school year, bringing home homework is an everyday event. And that means children that are fidgety and wiggly while trying to do homework. Parents can become frustrated because their kids won’t sit down and get the job done. In the end, it can be a struggle for both parent and child.
Some kids, especially our sensory kids, need a sensory break after sitting all day at school. Something like taking a walk, jumping on a trampoline, riding their bike, rollerblading, taking a swim or walking the dog can be fun ways to take that break. Sensory systems need to recover from the rough day at school, and minds need to recharge before attending to that homework.
Before you start homework, sometimes a crunchy snack can help give deep pressure to the body through the jaw, which can be calming. Things like crunchy apples, carrots, celery, pretzels or other healthy snacks your child likes are all great choices. You can also have them drink something thick through a straw like a yogurt smoothie; it has a similar effect as crunchy items. One of my favorites is to allow the child to chew gum or drink water from a straw during homework to continue to provide that organizing input. Now, they are organized and calm, but still may not quite be ready to work if the setting isn’t just right.
Sometimes you can help during the homework, especially when the kids get wiggly and are having a hard time sitting at their desk. One thing to try is changing their seating. Have them sit on an exercise ball, rocking chair or squishy cushion to give them a little bit of movement that just may help then focus longer. You could also try a different writing utensil, like a pencil with a squishy grip to provide tactile input to the hand.
One last idea is to help your child be more organized in bringing their bookbag home from school. Have separate folders clearly labeled so kids know where to put their homework papers. You could also have your child write in an assignment book at the end of each class.
All in all, homework doesn’t have to be an tough experience. Take time to do a few extra things and the time spent on homework will be more efficient and less of a dread!