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Kids need to balance homework, TV, computer

By Lyn Lomasi, contributing writer
Published On: May 16 2011 02:13:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 23 2011 01:30:28 AM CDT
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ŠiStockphoto.com/(Maica)

School's out for the day. That means it's time for all play and no work, right? Wrong. Time still has to be found for homework, too.

To be sure homework, TV and computer time all get worked in somewhere, a routine must be developed. There are a variety of things parents can do to ensure that kids not only get their homework done, but also have some fun, too.

Stick to a routine
Routine is key, according to ParentMap.com. Organizing a schedule and sticking to it will ensure that there is time for everything. Because education is more important than anything else, homework should come first on the list. Set a time limit for each after-school activity, and stick to a routine. Homework time should be set according to the average time it takes to get it done. Of course, the exact amount of time may vary, depending on each homework assignment.

Balancing the time
TV and computer time are great, but there needs to be a healthy balance. To balance homework, TV and computer time, first figure out how many hours are available before bedtime once a child's school day is done. The first 30 minutes might be reserved for snack and rest time. The next hour or so could be dedicated to homework. Older children may have even more homework time. Then, depending on what the kids like to do, divide up the remaining time for TV, computer and active play. If your child finishes early, extra studying can be done. Also try surprising your child with earlier play time on occasion. Kids can learn a great deal from both, provided they are used responsibly. Plus, they'll be having fun doing it. If the child has any chores, those will need a time slot as well.

Organize responsibly
To help organize all of this, try using daily schedules. Chorebuster.net is one of many websites that makes this easier. If there isn't much time to work with, combining homework time with fun time is another solution. For example, if a child is having a hard time with a math problem, try using a computer game that teaches the math skill needed. Despite organizing responsibly, there may be days where straying from the schedule is inevitable. Sticking to the schedule as closely as possible will help everyone stay on track with a fair balance between homework, TV and computer. It also is a great lesson in responsibility.

Enforce the schedule
For any schedule to work, parents must be consistent. If you tell your child that homework and one chore must be done by a certain time, this needs to be enforced. Saying one thing and doing another will create imbalance rather than balance.