Written by: Nicole Filiberti, LCSW
Modern technology has brought along with it convenience and a wealth of information in our pockets. We live in a world where we can ask Siri and Alexa questions and receive instant answers, sometimes without even lifting a finger. With this increase in accessible information comes its own challenges and struggles. As our youngsters utilize electronic devices more and more, technology can become problematic during homework time. Devices can be distracting, cause students to rush through homework in an effort to gain access on their device quicker, and can cause homework to drag out longer than needed if they are checking their phones every 5 minutes.
Develop a Device Plan
Consistency and predictability are your friends! Coming up with a plan for devices is a key piece of the after school routine. Developmental age is important here, as your routines will differ based on age. Allowing some down time after school with devices can help students unwind from the school day before starting homework. Setting a timer and clearly explaining to your kids what the routine will look like is important here. Describe what the transition off of the devices will look like. After the timer goes off, children should promptly power down their devices and place them in a pre-determined location. Some parents may find it helpful to have their kids' devices, specifically if they are adolescents, placed in a bin that is clearly in their sight. This way, the kids know their device is safe and not being used by anyone else, allowing them to focus on their homework.
If you think that your child will struggle a lot with powering down their device for the entire time they are completing homework, why not schedule in technology breaks throughout their homework time? The exact minutes will depend on your child's age and functioning, but it could help to have your youngster work on homework for 20 minutes, and then earn a 5 minute technology break. They will then return to 20 minutes of homework before earning another 5 minute technology break. The goal here is to alleviate some device anxiety they may be having, constantly feeling the need to check their phones.
What If My Kids Need Their Devices for Homework?
Between YouTube and Google, a wealth of information is available for anyone struggling with chemistry facts, to historical figures, to math operations. If a device is needed for a homework related question, it is important that it is used just for that purpose, and then promptly put away. Another helpful tip is to go through an assignment and complete all of the questions that the student does not require technology assistance with, and then go back to complete any questions that remain.
With a plan in place, devices do not have to totally interfere with homework completion time! Their benefits can be used in a way that helps homework time run smoother instead of totally derailing focus and attention.
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles