Different schools have different homework policies - some set homework for older students but not younger ones, while others set homework for all students.

Talk to your child's teacher to find out your child's school's homework policy. If your child’s school doesn’t set homework at this stage, that’s ok – your child will still be learning what they need to. If your child is getting homework and often struggles with what they have to do, talk to their teacher about it.

Here are some ways you can help with homework.

Before they begin homework

  • Let your child have a bit of time to unwind after school
  • Decide together how long the homework will take
  • Give them a snack and drink before they start
  • Choose a space that is comfortable and reasonably quiet – some children work better with music or background noise, but turn off the TV
  • Get them to check they have everything they need before starting.

If they get stuck

Help your child problem-solve by explaining or showing them the steps to complete a task. Let them do the steps though:

  • making up a similar question or task as an example. Show them how to work through it and then get them to have a go at their homework task
  • try giving clues rather than the answer, but be aware of frustration levels - theirs and yours
  • keep the clues simple - remind them of all the other times they have been able to work things out
  • homework will be connected to something they’ve already learnt, so encourage them to backtrack and start from what they can do.

Explain where and how to find information, rather than giving them the information.

Don’t be tempted to help so much that you end up doing it for them.

If you find the homework too hard to understand, talk to the teacher. They can help you to help your child.

Finding answers

It's ok if you don't know the answers. Your child could try:

  • the local library
  • the internet
  • asking another adult or older child
  • talking to the teacher.

You can download and print a factsheet of this information below.

Content last updated: 26 November 2009