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By Emmerson Drake

Homework struggles? Let's talk strategy

Homework has to be the worst part of school. Yes, I said it, and I mean it! Homework, I still hate you. You stink.

Ok, so I know it has to be done, but why so much? My nights are hectic enough as it is, and then we have to throw homework into the mix… Talk about chaos.

So in order to keep my sanity and not have to go all "strict mom" on my kiddos every weekday, I have put into action my own little Homework Strategy 101. Can you believe it is actually working?

First things first – make it a family affair

My boys are much more willing to sit down and complete their homework if they can do it at the dining table with the family. Taking this time to pay bills or write out your own personal goals can set a great example, while showing support for your child. When they can see they are not the only ones with a task, the work starts flowing and it becomes less of a chore.

Older kids like it when younger siblings ask them for help. It really gives them a boost of confidence when they can answer a question about topics that were covered in previous years – and, hello, family bonding.

Calm is ok, but shake those sillies out

Now, I am not saying go full-on recess mode here, but chances are school age kids have been cooped up for more than seven hours already. They are ready for an energy release. Outside play before sitting down to hit the books can do wonders for antsy children. Or, try jumping up and down for 20 seconds, lion's breath yoga breathing or just a good old-fashioned scream. Let it out and move along.

Snack on

Healthy snacks can encourage any child to sit still and do book work. It is such a treat to have a snack while doing homework. Granted, most kids have snack time at school, but they usually are not working simultaneously. Grapes, berries, sliced apples, oranges and cheese are some of my favorite go to snacks.

I also like to cut up a veggie tray with different dips to choose from like hummus or homemade ranch dip. Keep it simple and switch it up so it feels exciting and fresh.

When all else fails, dance

Rather than just push through those last 20 minutes of work, take a dance break. "I Like to Move it" has come to the rescue on more than one occasion. Have fun and be silly with them. Kids feel the connection and crave it. When you make an effort and realize that homework is not always fun, kids are more willing to go back and finish their homework refreshed.

Remember, your time with your kids is your time. Whether you are doing homework together, or another daunting task, try to squeeze out every minute of joy. Family time comes down to time spent together, and nothing is better than that.

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