Q. My son who is in third grade occasionally has an emotional meltdown when it comes to completing homework assignments. Some days after coming home from child care, sports or piano lessons, he completes his work without any problem, but sometimes he cries sadly claiming, "I can't do it. It's just too hard. I don't understand." I usually end up completing the homework for him even though I know I shouldn't. What should I do instead?
A. Before developing a plan of action, ask yourself the following questions?
- Is my child overwhelmed with too many extracurricular activities?
- Is he stressed some days from the challenges of after-school child care?
- Are there too many distractions such as TV, telephone talk or noisy siblings that are keeping him from concentrating?
- Could some assignments be too challenging for him?
- Might he have a learning disability or an attention problem?
- Do these emotional outbursts occur when he's overly tired or hungry?
Once you've considered each of these questions and possibly eliminated an extracurricular activity or two, quieted the vicinity where does his work and talked with his teacher about these emotional incidences, then proceed with the following plan when he turns emotionally distraught.
Most importantly, keep in mind that when your child is emotional and upset he can't hear explanations, logic or reasoning as to how to proceed with a homework task. So it's wise parenting to allow time for his emotions to settle down but with the understanding that he's still required to complete his assignments.
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