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My Daughter Is Too Tired To Do Homework

Allison Gardenswartz
Allison Gardenswartz

By Allison Gardenswartz, Consulting Educator

Question:

I have a 6-year-old daughter who is in first grade. Her babysitter picks her up from school at 2 p.m., and I pick her up from the babysitter around 6 p.m. When we get home we have dinner first. By the time we do her homework, she is too tired or lazy to finish it. She tells me that she's sleepy and wants to take a nap. She doesn't take a nap at her babysitter's because she is so excited to play with the other kids. What can I do?

Answer:

It sounds like your daughter's schedule needs to change in some way. Either she needs to nap at the babysitter's or get a start on homework there. It seems logical that she is tired after that long day and just starting homework at 7 p.m. Perhaps she can do part of the homework with the babysitter and take a short rest? Sometimes, even if a child does not sleep, she may have more energy after she has some down- time.

Another alternative would be for her to do a little of the homework as soon as you walk in the door as you are putting dinner on the table. If the homework is divided into smaller parts, perhaps it will go easier. She can do a little at the babysitter's, a little while dinner is being prepared and then have just a bit left to finish after dinner.

You will need to talk with the babysitter and make sure your expectations are clear and then talk with your daughter so she is aware of the plan. Sometimes the logistical schedule of where to fit the homework in is the hardest part. Once you find a routine that works for you and her, it will all fall into place.


Allison Gardenswartz is the founder of a San Diego tutoring center specializing in gifted and remedial learning and test preparation studies. An educator for over 15 years, Allison is an expert in identifying and enhancing the learning abilities of school-age children. Allison now fully devotes her time to parent education, consulting and college counseling. Allison has a teaching credential and has taught for several years in various public school systems. She has three children: Jacob, 11, Sofia, 7, and newly adopted Ryan, who is 3.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

09/24/2009:
"My son is not at a babysitter after school however he doesn't get home until about 4:30, when are these children supposed to act like children? They are being turned into homework soldiers. Gone at 8:00 am and home at 4:30 an hour and a half of homework everyday that's overtime for most adults let alone a 6 year old child. This is not my child he does not cry tears of real sorrow, but this is him now and I don;t know how to help him."
04/2/2009:
"My son is 6 years old and is in first grade. I have a hard time getting him to write, He is extremly lazy when it comes to writing. He is on grade level with reading and math but his writing is low because sometimes he refuses to write. Sometimes he will write two words. What can I do to help him."
02/21/2008:
"thanks for posting my question. your answer really helps. keep up the good work!"
02/14/2008:
"Re:My Daughter is to tired to do Homework..I had the same problem with my 6 y/o & did exactly what was said we did the home work as soon as we got home then had dinner it turned out great!thank you for the question & answers section it is very helpful i enjoy the emails"
02/14/2008:
"I have this issue with my five and a half year old. She spends the morning in Kindergarten and the afternoon in day care, so by the time she gets home, she's overstimulated, tired, hungry for dinner and crabby. My husband and I had a time getting her to deal with reading and math practice until I hit on the idea of putting her to bed a half hour earlier and getting up with her a half hour earlier. Now, not only do we sit and subtract or add or sound out new words calmly over orange juice, but we all have a little more time to get ready in the morning, and our days have actually become a little easier because of it. When she gets into first grade, we'll need more than an extra half hour, so we'll be taking some of the suggestions offered here, I'm sure. but If we continue to make homework time together time, I think we'll all be alright."
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