After School Child Care and Homework

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An issue that all parents will face soon enough is after school child care. No matter whether both parents work or only one, what to do about child care will no doubt be the focus of many intense family discussions.

Whether you are a Stay a Home Mum or a nanny looking after one or more kids, these tips may help you to deal with the homework part of after school child care.

A dedicated study place.

Ideally, this will be the child’s own desk. This adds a sense of “grown-up-ness” to the task of doing homework. Children are great imitators and sitting down at their own desk with the articles of stationery they need and their reference material close at hand will give them a sense of being on the way to adulthood.

I hope this works for you. It didn’t work for my daughter until she became a “preenager”. She preferred do do homework curled up on her bed, or nestled deeply into a bean bag. That way she could nurture her daydreams while pretending to study. We insisted – with only partial success – that at the very minimum she should sit at the  dining table to do her work. That way when we saw a beautiful daydream thought-bubble forming above her head, we could walk up to her and prick it with an imaginary pin.

A Calendar. (We’ll call it a Playtime Calendar).

Calendars or check-lists or any list, for that matter, are essential for organising tasks to be done. I know some mothers who have a colourful template in their computer and print out a daily one for their children.

Organise it so that their easy and fun tasks are done first and then sneakily build up to the tuff-stuff. You can and should schedule in breaks of around 15 minutes which occur after the maximum concentration time that you child can manage. For some children, depending on age and personality, this could range form 20 mins to 45 minutes or even an hour. Mark the time for fun activity, planned family outings and upcoming entertainment events. Display your calendar prominently in your house for all to admire. Stick to it as best you can without turning into a Calendar Nazi.

The Best Time

Everybody has a peak productivity period. For me it is after my early morning jog, for your child it maybe just after school and a glass of milk, or it maybe after an hour or more of wind-down time.  Experiment, find out when it is, and adjust your calendar to suit.

Don’t Scold, Don’t Nag

Build on your child’s strengths and encourage them rather than continually pointing out their weaknesses  There have been studies that show that if children are told they are going to do well, that will in fact be the most likely outcome.

Don’t Bury Your Child…

In homework that is. If she finishes a module early, don’t take to opportunity to cram in one more assignment. Instead, reward her by adding that time to her leisure time.  Even better say something like “let’s go downstairs to see if you can beat me in Badminton”. It might combat myopia.


Rewarding children for study is common, it is also a very controversial strategy. The goal to aim for is to instil a love of learning for self-fulfilment rather than for material rewards.

Child care is a big topic with lots of things to talk about. Homework is is just one, but important part of what to do with your child after school.

Do you have any tips or advice you would like to add?

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