Newswise — EVANSTON, IL (September 9, 2015) — With the new school year underway, most households will experience a change in their treasured “family” time. Evenings together that were unstructured and relaxing all summer are now dedicated to completing homework assignments.

For parents of all children — and especially those with learning and behavioral challenges — this nightly occurrence can be quite stressful. There are, however, many things parents can do to make the “dreaded homework hour” less difficult for all involved.

The Family Institute at Northwestern University’s Education Specialist, Barbara Resnick, MS, offers hints for parents to make homework a success this school year.

“Establish a routine for homework, and dedicate a set time for it to get done,” says Ms. Resnick. “Check the nightly planner with your child when they come home, and clarify assignment expectations by reading and highlighting instructions.”

Ms. Resnick also says that it is important to monitor the amount of time needed for completion of assignments. If you feel that the time is excessive or that your child clearly does not understand the assignments or requires total supervision in order to complete them, share your concerns with the classroom teacher. This difficulty could be an indication that your child may need more formalized academic support from the school.

“Although most parents are not formally trained as educators, the homework time spent together can be used to teach a variety of learning strategies,” says Ms. Resnick. “For instance, teach prioritization of assignments or how to break a larger assignment into more manageable pieces.”

Parents should also be cognizant of their child’s self-esteem as they work through their homework. “Acknowledge efforts that your child makes to complete an assignment, and not just the result,” says Ms. Resnick. “Remind your child that everyone makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect.”

To contact Ms. Resnick for an interview, please contact Cyndi Schu, Director of Public Relations at The Family Institute, at cschu@family-institute.org or 312-609-5300 ext. 483.

ABOUT THE FAMILY INSTITUTE AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY – For over 45 years, The Family Institute at Northwestern University (www.family-institute.org) has been committed to strengthening and healing families and individuals from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. An affiliate of Northwestern University, The Family Institute is a unique, innovative not-for-profit organization, governed by its own independent Board of Directors and responsible for its own funding. The Institute offers a wide range of high quality mental health counseling through our staff practice and our sliding-fee scale Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic, where we are committed to serving at-risk, under-resourced communities. The Family Institute also operates two nationally-renowned graduate programs in marriage and family therapy and counseling psychology in affiliation with Northwestern University, and conducts cutting-edge research projects that lead to a better understanding and treatment of mental health issues.

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