Just like adults, kids need to find the right balance between work and home life if they’re going to be happy. However, with the increasing volume of homework today’s kids get, and competition for good schools tougher than ever, it can be difficult to get the mix just right.
Parents often struggle to know when to push their kids and when to let them relax and have fun. As both school and home life are incredibly important to growing kids, taking to the time to find the right balance between the two is essential. If you’re currently struggling to find an equilibrium, here are a few ideas for how you can help your child get the most out of home and the classroom.
Why is a school/life balance important?
A school/life balance is important for a number of reasons. For a start, if too much emphasis is placed on schoolwork and academic achievement, it can put a real strain on children, especially those who are currently struggling in the classroom. If kids feel that there’s a lot of expectation placed on their exam results and test scores, it can easily make them stressed. This can make it harder to study and can lead to further problems down the line.
On the other hand, if kids don’t spend enough time tackling their homework, they can end up falling behind. A lack of motivation, and a lack of expectation, can also cause kids to doubt their abilities and may mean they don’t achieve the results they’re capable of.
Creating a clear schedule
If you get the balance right, kids will have the motivation they need to complete their school work to a high standard while also having plenty of other activities and interests in their lives. A well-rounded schedule will ensure that kids get to work on a variety of skills and hobbies and ensure they’re happy both at home and in the classroom.
One of the best ways to strike a good school/life balance is to create a clear schedule. Make a timetable that tells your kids when they should be doing their homework, when they’ll be attending extracurricular activities, when you’ll be having fun as a family and when they can just sit back and relax.
Once you’ve created this schedule, it’s important you stick to it. If kids know that there’s a limited time for them to tackle their homework or hit the books, they’ll be a lot more likely to knuckle down and get on with it. Likewise, if they know they won’t be made to do homework or think about school during their free time, it will give them the opportunity to really relax and unwind. Make sure your kids know that they need to keep up their end of the bargain if you’re going to stick to the timetable.
If you’re unsure how many hours you need to dedicate to homework and study a week, ask your child’s school for guidance. Most set a fixed number of homework hours so will be able to tell you exactly how long the work should take.
When making your timetable, ensure there’s at least one day a week where no study is required at all. Having a whole day off will give kids the chance to recharge their batteries and get ready for the timetable to start all over again.
Combining fun with education
Just because your kids aren’t in school or doing their homework, doesn’t mean they can’t be learning. You can enhance their learning by planning activities that naturally complement their schoolwork.
Trips to local historic sights, attractions and museums can easily be used to get kids excited about history, geography, art and architecture. Take your kids to a local farm to show them where food comes from and teach them a little about biology or turn a walk in the woods into a chance to learn all about the environment and the local plants and animals that inhabit it.
Even holidays can be turned into fantastic learning opportunities. Although you probably won’t want to spend every day of your break visiting nearby sights and attractions, a day or two at an ancient sight or area of outstanding natural beauty can help to enrich your holiday and enhance your child’s learning.
However, not every excursion you make needs to be educational. Sometimes just getting out and having fun as a family is the perfect way to spend your weekend.
Setting the tone for future learning
Time management is one of the most important life skills a child can learn. Mastering the art of tackling homework as and when it needs to be done, and working steadily and productively in the run up to exams and deadlines, will help children to cope when academic works gets more serious.
If you can help your child to find the right balance between home and school now, it will stand them in excellent stead for the future. If kids can learn to get their work done to a good standard while still leaving time for fun and relaxation, they’ll find both university and the world of work a lot easier to cope with.
When you’re not planning educational trips or helping kids with their homework, it’s time to relax and have fun as a family. From outdoor activities to film nights and day trips to shopping, there are lots of ways you can help your kids to enjoy themselves when they’re not hitting the books.