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How Do I Help My Teen Make Homework a Priority?

Teen with stack of homework

‚ÄčAs children grow older, their days seem to get increasingly busier and packed with more activities. Once they reach their teen years, they might be involved in daily sports practices, music or theater rehearsals, and any number of other extracurricular activities, to say nothing of the social requirements that are simply part of being a teenager. It's sometimes easy for homework to get lost in the shuffle, or at least to be relegated to the back of the line.

This is why teaching your child how to set up and follow routines is so important. Ideally, this skill should be taught while kids are in elementary and middle school, well before they hit their teen years. Routines help kids (especially teens) know and understand what's expected of them. They need to know, for instance, that when they get home from school, they can have a snack and take a short break, and that their next priorities are homework, chores, and whatever other responsibilities they might have.

It's also important for you and your teen to assess his or her schedule as a whole. It's very easy for teens to say "Yes" to a lot of activities and then suddenly find that they're overextended. Whether they're in sports or band or another activity, if they're doing their homework in the car on the way to school, that's a good sign they've got too much on their plate and something's got to give.

So sit down with your teen and list out his or her activities. Then pare the list down to one this more manageable to do without getting overwhelmed. Not only will your teen be able to play more attention to homework, but he or she also will get more enjoyment out of the other activities.