By Dr. Judith Zenna-Valgento

Nothing can cause more angst in a household than the statement, “Do you have homework?” As families are getting into the routine this fall, there are several strategies that can reduce the stress of homework and keep students organized.

Establish a schedule and stick to it. It is important to fit school work and reading time in the schedule even for busy families.

There are several ways to make the process easier. Using a color-coded calendar helps students map out the week. One way to build the incentive is to declare Fridays and Saturdays “homework free” zones.

It is important to provide students a homework environment that is neat, quiet and organized. Limit “screen time” now that school has started. Many find it easiest to put away devises until chores and homework are completed. Use them as a positive reinforcement: “you can have 30 minutes on your iPad when your homework is finished.”

Use an app – like My Study Life – to track calendars and homework assignments. By encouraging students to use these devices constructively, they are developing important organization and time management skills, along with an age-appropriate sense of independence.

Parents should maintain open communication with teachers. If extenuating circumstances arise, discuss homework alternatives. School staff are usually open to addressing issues, but don’t delay. Being proactive promotes positive change and eliminates negative consequences

All students should read or be read to every day. I recommend 15 minutes per day in kindergarten and increasing five minutes for every grade level. Students whose parents are readers are more likely to become strong readers themselves.

All this effort pays off. Students who successfully complete homework achieve greater academic success in school, establish positive attitudes towards school and develop good work habits. Finishing that math assignment tonight means greater success in life in the long run.

About the Author: Judith Zenna-Valgento, Ph.D. , is the Campus Director at Brightmont Academy in Deer Valley, a private school that specializes in providing one-to-one instruction for each student. For more information, please visit, call 623.738.0710 or email [email protected].