wikiHow to Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child

It's easy to lose patience when you're working with small children. This is especially true when you're doing homework with them. Many parents were conditioned to hate homework as children, and that carries over to their helping their child as parents. Learn to be patient and enjoy the process, and you'll break the cycle!


  1. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 1
    Decide what you want, and what you need to do. Do you want your child to get good grades? Do you want him to understand the material well? Write out your goals on an index card.
  2. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 2
    Determine your child's learning style. Many children don't process visual information well, but are quick to learn if the material is spoken out loud. Some are the opposite. Your child's teacher can help you determine what teaching methods work best for him, or you can do online research. (Or both!)This is great to know of your child, because they can learn best in ways different than how you learn!
  3. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 3
    Decide before you start how much time you're going to devote to helping with homework. Set an egg timer so that you don't have to worry about running over. Whenever you find yourself getting frustrated with the amount of time it's taking, remind yourself that you promised you'd help for an hour (or whatever) and it's not taking any more time than you expected.
  4. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 4
    When you sit down to help your child with an assignment, look over it first. Make sure you understand clearly what's being asked, and if there are any special instructions on how to do it. Few things in life are more embarrassing than telling your child how to do something, only to find out that he was supposed to do something else entirely! It is also important to listen to what your child says. You may have been taught the material differently, so it is key to remain open-minded, and be honest with your child if you have trouble understanding the directions. The point is not to frustrate anyone!
  5. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 5
    Let your child do as much as he can. This is the hardest step. The assignment looks so easy to you, you want to jump in and tell him how to do it. But he won't learn that way. Wait until he's stuck before you reach out to help. (This is where your index card comes in. Keep it in your pocket, and read it every time you want to say something. If your help wouldn't correspond with the goal on the index card, hold your tongue.)
  6. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 6
    Resist the temptation to tell him the answer when he's stuck. Instead, ask leading questions. For example, if he can't decide whether to add or subtract, ask him to describe what addition does, and what subtraction does. Then ask which of those two is closer to what this problem is doing. Try everything you can think of to get him to figure it out for himself.
  7. Image titled Be Patient When Doing Homework with Your Young Child Step 7
    At the end of the assignment (or your allotted time, whichever comes first) find something you can praise your child about. Maybe he finished it in less time than you expected, or got most of the answers on the first try. Complimenting not only will make him feel good, it will make you feel like your time was well spent.


  • Keep an eye out for applications of the subject. If your child is having trouble with addition, let him add up the grocery bill when you go shopping. If he doesn't spell well, make a game of spelling words -- take him to a baseball game if he can spell a list of baseball-related words, or buy him a piece of butterscotch candy if he can spell it correctly. Real-life situations bring the learning from school into everyday situations that can help your child become better at that particular learning. Again, your child's teacher is a great resource for ways to get your child interested in learning.
  • Talk to your child's teacher. Most of them chose this career because they want to help children learn. This person is an enormous resource for specific teaching styles for your child, other activities that can help your child learn, areas your child is having trouble with, and hundreds of other options. I have never met a teacher who wasn't thrilled to have a parent ask, "How can I help my child learn better?" Teachers are resourceful, and they will find you the information you need.
  • Once you start thinking of homework-time as less of a chore and more of a fun way to stay involved with your child, you've mastered this wiki. Don't let homework be a drag for you...and it will help both you and your child get it done with a minimum of fuss!
  • A good strategy may be to review with your child what they are doing, and then let them work while you work nearby. This shows them that you can be patient and you are willing to do the work. It also leaves you close at hand for any problems which arise.
  • Make sure you know the subject he is learning. In first grade, this probably isn't an issue, but by third grade, you may need some review. When was the last time you found a lowest common denominator?
  • Less is more - your job is to be there in case your child is truly puzzled, not to act as a shortcut to avoid his having to think.


  • Getting upset and quitting the help as the parent will show your child a "get-out" strategy that you don't want them to learn.
  • Don't upset your child, call them names, and criticize them. It is counterproductive.
  • If your child doesn't understand the material, don't immediately accuse them of not paying attention in class or tell them they need to be more focused. The problem is not usually an issue with attention or focus; it is simply that different people's minds are more apt to learn certain subject matter. Neither you nor your child can change this. It is up to you both just to "help it."

Article Info

Categories: Nurturing Talent