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5 Ways to Help Kids Become More Independent After School

5 Ways to Help Kids Become More Independent After School

When children first transition to school, parents and teachers provide structure for them. Younger children can benefit from this structure to a great degree and it will help them develop their own internal structure so they can become independent. Once kids get into elementary school they should start finding their own motivation to get their homework done. Although a parent will still need to create structure and check up on kids to varying degrees, it’s important to introduce the idea of self motivation early on so that young students have plenty of time to adjust to their own responsibilities.

Let them control their homework chart
Many parents have a homework chart, which can be very helpful for children who don’t automatically sit down to complete their studies. Homework charts are also helpful because they let both the student and parent know which subjects are being emphasized the most and how much time is generally spend on each topic. Most adults create to-do lists or use apps to help them stay organized so it’s a good idea for kids to utilize organization as well. If kids have some control over their homework they’re more likely to be engaged in their assignments. They can put the stamp or star in a particular column or even help their parent create the chart.

Points for reading books
One of the ways children gain vocabulary and reading comprehension skills is by reading for fun. Students will be assigned novels and book reports in class and will be reading textbooks for every subject. However, reading for fun can increase a child’s intelligence and imagination in many ways. Some kids love to read while others view it as a chore. Parents can give points to their kids for reading books that could eventually lead to some kind of reward. Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage kids to complete any task. Young readers are more likely to become independent if they get to choose which book they read for fun. Everything is chosen for them in school so it’s important they get to have some choice outside of the classroom.

Let them fail when appropriate
It seems counterintuitive to encourage children to fail but sometimes small failures can be helpful. It would be better for a second grader to bring home a D on a paper and learn from it then to have them experience their first failure while they’re preparing for college. Younger students can think about what went wrong on a particular assignment. Did they forget to study? Did they skip reading the directions? Do they need extra help from the teacher or a tutor? This is one of the first times kids will experience cause and effect in an academic setting and failure will eventually help them find self motivation to do well on assignments.

Talk to them about time
Most children don’t fully comprehend how much time it takes to complete an assignment. For adults, time seems to go faster on some days and slower on others but kids generally have not yet picked up on this concept. It’s a good idea to talk with kids about how long it takes to complete a particular skill-set. For instance, a kid who is excellent at math could complete their assignments relatively quickly but for a student who struggles with math it might seem like it takes forever. When something takes up a lot of energy it often appears to take up more time.

Create a studious environment
Another way students can develop Independence is to be in a studious environment. Is there a space in the home where students can work on their assignments without distraction? Is there a clean area of the room where they can organize all of their books and papers? If not, it might be a good idea to spend some time at the library so that they can fully concentrate on the task at hand. Once kids learn how to focus in an ideal environment they will be able to hone their skills to focus anywhere.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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