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You should let your child do homework on their own—here's why

Also, teaching kids the way you learned can create confusion.

should let your child do homework on their own

When a child comes home from school with a massive bundle of homework, it's hard for a parent not to think, "When am I going to find time to do this?"

Nearly half of all parents have done homework assignments for their kids. It's not uncommon for a parent to scrape together a volcano for a science project and slap their child's name on it, or to fill out a few math questions your child just doesn't have time to get through.

On paper, we know that our children's homework is meant to be for them, but, in practice, it doesn't always end up that way. Part of the reason we get so frustrated about the amount of homework our children get is that we know we're going to be the ones who end up doing it. Even if we don't do our kids' homework for them, most parents believe that we need to help out.

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Here's why you should encourage your kids to do homework on their own.

Doing your kid's homework doesn't mean better grades

Studies have consistently found that getting involved doesn't lead to better grades. It's the opposite, in fact. We often want our kids to have the best project at the science fair or get a perfect grade, but we're really just taking away from a learning opportunity.

When parents regularly do their work, they usually perform worse. The kids with the best grades, on the other hand, usually study on their own.

Teaching kids the way you learned creates confusion

When a child comes home with Common Core Math, some parents want to throw it out the window and say, “Listen, this is how I learned it, and it's a lot better." Even if your way really is better, though, teaching it to them that way only makes things worse.

Studies have also found that trying to teach your kids at home usually leaves them more confused. You also run the risk of ruining your child's attitude toward school. Your child will adopt your attitude to homework. If you're telling them their teacher is doing it wrong, they're going to believe you, and they're going to have a much harder time listening and learning in class.

Letting kids do their homework alone helps

You're not going to be able to do their homework for them in college. And let's be honest—when your kids get to high school and start bringing home two hours of homework every night, you won't have time to do that for them, either. The best way you can help, according to a review of 20 studies on parental involvement in homework, is to set rules. Don't do the work with your kids, but do make sure they're actually doing it.

Not only do kids do better when parents back off, but it lets them grow up to be better people. Doing homework on their own teaches kids to manage their own behavior, and that's a lot more important than getting good grades in elementary school.

Homework expert, Dr. Harris Cooper has a few tips on how parents can help their kids succeed at completing homework:

1. Set up a distraction-free zone

Make sure your child has a distraction-free zone to work. Help them manage their time and make sure they have all the materials they need to succeed.

2. When your child does homework, so should you

If your child is reading, read the newspaper. If your child is doing math, balance your bills. That way, you let your child know that these skills are going to be essential later in life.

3. Help your child manage frustration

Part of doing well is learning how to handle frustration. If your child struggles, let them know that's okay, and allow them to take a break.

4. Reward progress

Kids can view homework as a way to appease their parents. Keep a positive attitude about their work and if your child improves, let them know you value their hard work by giving a small reward.

Remember, your kids' homework doesn't have to take up all your time. Just make sure they're doing it and only step in if they need help.

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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