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.
“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:
- 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.
- Is the student procrastinating too much? Usually larger projects have plenty of warning before being due.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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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