How homework can affect your child’s health

How homework can affect your child’s health

When kids get home from school the last thing they want to do is start working on homework. They want to get outside, play with friends or have a snack and relax.

It’s normal for kids to complain about having to do homework, but could your child be overloaded with afterschool work?

A new study says yes.

The study from the Stanford School of Education, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, claims that children in high-performing schools in upper to middle class families suffer from high levels of stress. And these groups are at greater risk for health problems, including a lack of balance in their lives and can even feel alienated from society.

Children in these high-achieving schools often spend an average of more than three hours each night doing homework. Denise Pope, senior lecturer at Stanford and co-author of the study, and her team of researchers studied 4,317 students in 10 of these schools in California.

Researchers did find that students spending a lot of their time on homework had a better level of engagement in school. However, these students were adversely affected by high stress and physical health problems.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” Pope said in a statement.

Too much homework was found to be counterproductive. In a poll, 56 percent of students attributed any stress in their lives to too much homework. Less than 1 percent of students said that homework was not a stressor.

When asked how homework affects them, students reported lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and stomach problems. Students reported that due to the necessity of keeping their grades up, homework often came first before spending time with friends, attending after school activities or cultivating hobbies or talents outside of academic work.

Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill., says  that with schoolwork kids have to do what they are told.

“Teachers typically do not work together to make certain days more ‘fair’  or an even workload,” he says. 

Dr. Traeger says if your kids are being overwhelmed with homework, the following are some things to consider:  

  1. Are outside school activities or sports taking up too much time? With too much going on outside of school it can put more stress on the things that ‘have to’ be done. 
  2. Is the student procrastinating too much? Usually larger projects have plenty of warning before being due.
  3. Talk with the teacher and see why there is so much homework. Is it because the work is not being completed during the class time?
  4. How are the study and working habits of the student? Working on study skills or working efficiency can make a big difference when the work load gets larger. 
  5. Medical reasons – Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, anxiety are all possibilities when a child starts to struggle. Especially if there is a very sudden deterioration of school performance. Speak with your school psychologist and pediatrician. 

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Comments

34 Comments

  1. Thank you Dr. Traeger for the list of things parents need to consider when it comes to homework overload.

  2. thi really helped

  3. homework is too stressful for kids to have I am a student myself and it me 5-6 hours of homework and I’m only in sixth grade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I’m pretty sure some of your homework is work you did not finish at school, If not, I suggest you talk to your teacher, respectfully. tell him/her that your homework load is too intense and you were wondering if he/she could lighten the load.

      I hope this helps!

  4. very good job

  5. this was so helpful thank you so much!!! my child needs less homework.

  6. i agree with every word

  7. Yes I agree!

  8. Thank you, this was a big help for an argumentative debate project I am working on.

  9. This is very true, I have been experiencing this for over 10 Years now. Homework definitely causes stress, I reckon that all children should only be given one piece of homework twice a week.

  10. This is great! I’ve been arguing for homework since 4th grade and this is a great source of information in my 8th grade debate speech. Thank you so much!

  11. Thank you so much this really helped me with my research for my argumentative essay and lots of good evidence!

  12. I love it! This helped me with my persuasive essay alot! Also, I always knew that homework was boring, but I never knew that all of that stuff could happen! Stomach issues? I never knew homework contibuted to that!

  13. This is true! My teacher kills me in with homework and I’m only in 7th grade

  14. Alessandra and Hannah May 17, 2017 at 10:27 am · Reply

    Thanks for the stats! This is really helping us on a project, we too have had some nasty incidents with the amount of homework given.

  15. i heart homework

  16. This is very helpful. It helped me on a research project, and i can totally agree with what article goes over about homework. I also think that homework should only be what you didn’t finish in class.

  17. thank you it really helped

  18. this doesn’t really happen to me, but it is getting to that point

  19. homework makes me cry

  20. Kristine Grant April 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm · Reply

    I am an accelerated 6th grade math teacher. I give my students about 3 hours of homework a day, but I tell them that accelerated students have to pace themselves.

  21. I agree with this. I feel like my physical and mental health are both getting destroyed. I am noticing nausea, fatigue, headaches, joint aches, depression, anxiety, stress, irritability, and frustration that I could be using my time to relax or do hat I want to do.

  22. I used this website for a debate project and it was very helpful. I totally agree with this. Teachers give out too much homework. I had 2 high school classes as an 8th grader and it was VERY stressful. I want every single teacher to know that kids havge lives. They don’t spend all night doing homework. We need time with our families and take part in any activities we choose. They don’t get it.

  23. thbis is unaxeptable! i cant beliebe that this is hapening! why do we liev in a soctiety here this is ok????????? HIS IS NOT OK!!!!!! my yuongest duaghter is seven and he is so stresed!!!!! poor girl is gona be sad! i cant wiat til i get certficashons to homescool my egiht child ren cuase i cant deal wiht homwork!!!!!!!!!

  24. thank you for writing this it is very useful- 6th grader

  25. thank you this was very useful

  26. Well done smarty pants

  27. Thank you for the facts.I need them for a debate about Homework and this is quite helpful. I think this great for many people. Thanks again.

  28. I wrote a letter to the school board and superintendent of my school district about this issue. I am only in 8th grade, and some of my personal experiences with homework overload include 3-4+ hours per night working on homework for ELA ALONE, constant headaches, sleep deprivation, cramping and dizziness, and much more. I have also had to drop out of my SCHOOL volleyball team and my select soccer team (my only forms of exercise throughout the week) to keep up with school work. Anxiety is a very new and difficult thing I have to deal with now, and all because of stress from school, home, and decision making. I am typically a 4.0 student, involved in many challenge/AP classes, (and also a perfectionist), but all of these things come at the extent of my physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being/health. This needs to stop. Something needs to be done about this very serious issue/epidemic throughout many states and countries.

  29. 4 teachers a day give me 2 pages of homework a day. I dont think they’ll lighten the load for me either so I started a petition for my school to have less homework. Keep in mind that the npta (national parent-teacher association) says the recommended amount of homework is 10 min per grade per day, meaning I(a 7th grader) should be getting a total of 1 hour and 10 min a day. My homework usually well exceeds that and my foreign exchange student who is in 10th has up to 4 hours of homework a night when she should only be having an hour and 40 min of homework. (Granted she’s an overachiever)I feel that teachers should converse with other teachers to assure an even load of work for their students.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.