little tired boy sitting at the desk

From grades to bullies, children today have many reasons to become stressed during school. However, one of the most common school-related stressors is homework but does homework cause stress in our children or are they trying to skip out on their school responsibilities.

Sadly the answer is yes!

How Does Homework Cause Stress?

The school curriculum is becoming a lot more fast-paced than it was generations ago. There is a lot more for our children to learn and higher learning is being taught at earlier levels to accommodate for time. So younger children are now having to deal with the stress of homework due to the pressure placed on them.

The amount of information our children are required to learn is changing but the amount of time they have to learn is remaining the same.

No to mention, in elementary schools, things like lunch and recess are being shortened which takes away from children’s breaks and doesn’t give them time to recuperate to function throughout the rest the day.

Stress is increased when children bring homework that is too difficult to complete. My daughter is in the 3rd grade bringing home algebra problems that she has no idea how to complete.

On top of that, the homework is so complex the amount of time being spent on it is taking longer. This is cutting into children’s normal lives. The National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) suggest that children should spend 10 minutes per grade level on homework per night. But homework goes far beyond that.

Homework and Our Children’s Health

Homework can not only affect children mentally but physically. A study was done by Stafford University by education scholar Denis Pope and it stated that homework was considered as a primary source of stress to 56 percent of students. Too much homework can result in a lack of sleep because homework which can take an average of 3 to 4 hours can often cut into children’s bedtime and the stress can leave them up at night.The lack of sleep can lead to headaches and exhaustion. The stress can even cause some children to lose weight. Due to the fact that families can be pressed for time, fast food is often chosen as a dinner alternative.

Homework and Our Children’s Social Life

One of the things most children look forward to when they finish a school day is their extracurricular activities or time with their family and friends. But due to the large amounts of homework children often do not have the time. Older students may have trouble trying to balance their homework and other responsibilities such as a part-time job. This needed time to relax, and recuperate can leave them even more stressed and feeling isolated.

Homework and Our Children’s Gradestest results in school

I am sure you have heard the expression or even used it yourself, “children are like a sponge”. They soak up information in school all day so having too much homework can just burn them out. This can make them slack off when it comes time to do their homework and cause them to depend on their parents to help them(and as parents we more than likely willing). Then their grades slip in school because they depended on your assistance and didn’t learn the work themselves.

The Positive Side

Homework isn’t all bad. The problem here seems to be the amount. A study completed by Duke University professor Harris Copper showed that students who completed homework did do better in school academically. He also discovered that homework increases traits such as self-discipline, inquisitiveness, positive attitude towards schooling, and independent problem-solving skills.

What Can You Do About It?

As a parent, you don’t want to see your children suffer and it doesn’t have to be any different when it comes to your children’s homework.

One of the first steps a parent can take in helping their child through any situation is to utilize communication. Talk to your children. Ask them questions and let them understand that you will not judge them. Make them feel comfortable to open up to you because they may think you would be disappointed with them if they admit to having trouble with their homework.

Don’t enable your children. They are stressed but that doesn’t mean you don’t want them to try. Just let them know you will do what it takes to assist them.

Discover what is stressing them, it could be the subject they are having trouble understanding or they may have too much work.

Help them establish a homework routine that will help them get organized and relieve some of their stress by managing their time. This way they can get their rest and have time for their free time.

If your child is struggling don’t hesitate to contact their teacher. Send an email asking the teacher to explain the material to your child again. When necessary look into getting your child tutoring.

Make sure your child has a designated area in the home to do their work. This needs to be an area free from any distractions such as the TV, siblings, and video games.

Remember not to be too helpful. The purpose of homework is so the teacher can measure whether or not your child is learning the material. So if you give your child the answers you actually are not helping.

ConclusionBusiness woman with arrows and questions sign above isolated

As a mother, I never like to see my children in any kind of distress. School is something that is beneficial to my child’s future but to think that something as common as homework can be detrimental to their well-being is crazy.

I have spent many different nights on this topic with my children and to think back to what I had to face, I feel deeply for our children.

Homework is something that is supposed to be used as a tool of progression.

Should homework be banned? Is our children’s well-being being looked out for? These are questions I would have never thought parents would have asked.

Though homework may be stressing our children, we can try our best to alleviate some of that stress. Talk to your children. Because as mothers we know all too well the effects stress can have on our lives. Don’t you want to prevent as much of it from your children’s?

Let me know what you think below!

14 thoughts on “Does Homework Cause Stress – Should You Worry”

  1. Hi, this is a great article. I am not quite aware of the problem yet as my daughter does not have too much homework so far. We live in Thailand and maybe here it is all a bit different anyway.
    I am glad though to get informed how it could get and how to react if my daughter is getting stressed.
    I heard of a crazy situation in South Korea where lot’s of students break over school stress. I think parents should also not ask for too much form their kids and leave them some time to play as long as they are young.

    1. Hi Stefan,
      I agree I think children should be allowed to have their free time and yes parents shouldn’t ask too much of them. That is great advice. I thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. Very interesting article. It is so true that this day and age children are expected today much more than let’s say when I was in elementary school 40 years ago. But at the same time, I believe I was never pushed to my limits.

    Nowadays technology has evolved so much and that is a huge assistant for many kids. The brain is like a sponge they say so I do believe a child can absorb way more than we think they can. But at the same time, you make some very valid points and I think the best thing is communication and then have a game plan to assist our child with time management or any other aspect of school to alleviate some of those stressors.

    1. Hi Nate,
      I agree with you, when we were younger we weren’t probably pushed to our limits and technology nowadays can assist children were as me and you didn’t have that. But I can tell you first hand my children bring homes material she has no idea how to do it and has told me herself it is causing her stress. Sadly, she is only 9. If adults can only handle so much we should never put more on a child than they can handle nor should we expect them to know things we have not taught them. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, what a great article about a really very common issue and a problem I must say, homework, though it has a positive side as well and kids should get homework, but what is distressing is how much homework kids should get. When I was a kid, homework always looks like a tension and something that I hate very badly, But time has changed now, my 4-year-old daughter always gets homework as per her ability and she enjoys doing it, really nice article, thank you so much for addressing this issue…:)

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I agree and I thank you for your input. I think children will always enjoy homework as long as it is within their ability. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Hi,

    I’ve been raised and schooled in Poland so I know exactly what you mean. I’ve experienced this as a child and as a teenager. Overloaded with homework every single day – and my parents weren’t there to help me. Not because they didn’t want to. They were both working abroad, so I had to deal with this on my own. It wasn’t easy. I remember there were times when I had to stay up till late because I haven’t finished all homework for the next day. I was exhausted and stressed out. I remember even as a primary school pupil I had thoughts like “my life is so scheduled. Routine everyday. School, homework. School, homework. And they don’t even pay for this…” 😀
    I am a mother myself now, however my baby boy isn’t a school pupil yet – the tine will come. I wouldn’t like him to be overloaded with homework and learning. Of course he will need to do this part too, but there has to be some balance between responsibilities and the free time – children can have fun while learning too 🙂 we as parents can help them with this. Let’s watch some documentary together. Read books in the free time. Reading is fun! Watch cartoons in foreign languages… and many more!
    And when it comes to helping with the homework. I think we as parents should have as less impact on this as possible. There are parents who want to help their children so much… they practically do the homework themselves 😛 How’s the child gonna learn this way? It’s good to help – but only to the point when your child understands what’s the task and how it should be done.

    1. Hi Gosia,
      I thank you for sharing your story and sadly the stress you faced is what some are going through today. I agree that children can learn with their parents in the time they spend together and it is actually a great idea that parents do spend time reading and things like that. I too agree that parents can, and not intentionally, do more damage than good when it comes to the help they give their children. Homework has a purpose and we don’t want to get in the way we just need to be their support. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Great post Melissa!
    Nowadays they ask so much from everybody, and I think too much on children as they say “children are our future”. Everyone wants them to be well prepared for life, making them study this, extracurricular activities, read this books and that. Then there are parents that reward them with toys, video games and mind you may mean well. But many forget the best reward is the parents attending, spending quality time together. By not doing so I believe adds also stress, no wonder many adults feel lonely
    At the end of the day no matter the age everyone wants to feel loved and cared about.

    1. Hi Diosa,
      I agree. I know school means well, but sometimes they do come between the social life a child has with their family. Buying children things is not a substitute for time. Thank you for your comment and sharing!

  6. Ban the homework!

    I’m just joking. I agree that talking with your children and being there to help them when they get stuck is important. We all know that in high school and especially in college that it will be “homework from hell.”

    Our children have to learn how to handle the stress and learn good habits when it comes to homework.

    Great site and I love the information.

    1. Hi Rick,
      Very well said. Teaching them to deal with stress while they are young will help them when they get to high school and college when it gets even more difficult. I like your wisdom. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Hi Melissa,

    I am a teacher and understand the subject too. And believe it or not, the homework topic is one that stresses teachers and parents. Teachers are stressed because they need to get through the curriculum because it is asked of them. Parents are stressed because they want their children to have the rest of the day off from school.

    The homework topic is in most of our teacher meetings, parent-teacher meetings, etc. As much as we try to alleviate things from the school, we cannot seem to make it right, neither for the children, neither for parents (and sometimes not even for the teachers).

    Personally, I think children should have some homework so they can review things they have been studying in school, but there should not be new things on the list, especially in lower grades. For middle school and high school, there should definitely be homework, because those students are to the level where they need to go things over, prepare for assignments, or even do research.

    A hot topic, but something to consider. Thanks for sharing your point of view as a mother. Love the feedback from parents, since I am teaching, and still do not have my own children in school age. You mention that parents should talk to the children about the homework and about how they feel towards it. That is a great tool for everybody.

    My years of experience as a teacher tells me that homework frustration mostly happens to the parents and they pass it on to the children. Parents play a vital role in their kids to do their homework successfully.

    Thanks for sharing your views,

    1. Hi Oscar,
      I really appreciate you sharing your perspective as a teacher. It is always good to get everyone’s side of things, it makes things a lot easier to understand and helps you to possibly put yourself in other people’s shoes. I can tell you from experience, my daughter, right now is getting algebra homework and she just turned 9. I literally have to teach her how to do it and she doesn’t know how to multiply yet. At my children’s district alone, the work each year is getting harder but the teachers can’t keep up and the kids are suffering. I agree children need homework, but homework is a refresher of things they learn. Thanks for sharing!

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