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Help! Homework!

March 8, 2019

Picture this, it’s eight o’clock at night, your second grader is supposed to be in bed. Everyone is tense and angry.  Tears are being shed. You wipe your eyes and blow your nose and press on. What is happening here? That’s right, you guessed it.  It’s homework time. Your child has a simple assignment to write a paragraph on the book they read in school. What should have taken fifteen minutes is taking an hour and a half.

It’s taking so long because your child is struggling to write the word “The.”  Handwriting does take a lot of practice and repetition, but some children find writing on a piece of paper almost insurmountable. Difficulties can come across as an inability to hold the pencil correctly, words too light to be seen, or the lack of proper spacing between words, for example. Severe problems in this area can be diagnosed as a learning disability called Dysgraphia. Problems with handwriting, spelling or putting thoughts on paper should be red flags for parents and teachers to seek help and possibly obtain an evaluation from a certified professional.

There is Help from Teachers and Occupational Therapists

There is help for your child.  Seek out assistance from an occupational therapist, your teachers, and the school systems to start. There are also things you can do as a parent to help your child with school.

Here are some things you can do at home:

  • Try pencil grips or other writing aids for comfort.
  • Use wide ruled paper, or paper with raised lines to help with letter and word alignment.
  • Praise and reinforce hard work instead of criticizing sloppy work.
  • Allow computer work.
  • Utilize a stress ball to improve hand-muscle strength and coordination.
  • Relieve stress before writing, like rubbing or shaking hands together quickly.

You and your child can overcome the hardships of homework and transition peacefully to your bedtime routine.

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