Dangers of Too Much Homework

Can Homework do More Harm than Good?

An unhealthy balance of work and play can negatively affect your child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development.

Teachers assign homework for several reasons, from allowing students extra time to complete assignments to encouraging life-long study habits and skills. But sometimes, all that homework meant to make your child a better student, only ends up making him tired, whiny, and frustrated. Spending too much time on homework could cause your child more harm than good.

Physical Inactivity

Children need opportunities for physical play and exercise. A review of 850 studies by the Center for Disease Control showed that physical activity has a positive impact on everything from grade point average and scores on standardized tests to concentration and classroom behavior. A growing number of pediatricians are concerned that spending hours on homework, rather than playing outside, might contribute to excess weight gain, and even childhood obesity.

Sleep Loss

Children should avoid making a habit of staying up late to finish assignments. Chronic sleep loss causes depression, impaired motor function and obesity. It has been found to increase a body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol which raises blood pressure and heart rate, weakens the immune system and makes it difficult to concentrate.

Stress and Anxiety

Children may feel anxious and overwhelmed by homework that makes up a large percentage of their grade. Some experts fear rigorous academic standards and too much emphasis on student’s grades instead of whether they master the material can lead to an unhealthy amount of stress in your child. Some even argue that homework should never be graded.

“Finally, homework can be harmful to your family relationships when it interferes with the time you have to spend together or imposes stress on family members who are called upon to help with an extremely difficult assignment.” – Says the expert from Excel Homework.

Spending Too Much Time on Homework:

  • Takes time away from other meaningful and pleasurable activities
  • Robs your family of time spent together that you can never get back
  • Leaves little time, if any, for extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, art, theatre or dance classes, or outings to zoos or museums
  • Prevents your child from getting adequate amounts of exercise, proper nutrition and sleep

You Can Limit the Time Your Child Spends on Homework

  • Tell your child’s teacher about your concerns. Ask her to assign less homework (ten minutes per grade level), avoid assigning anything that does not have a genuine educational value, and to make sure the assignments can be done independently by your child.
  • Enforce rules at home. Set a time limit and make it clear to the teachers that your child will not work past that time limit. Do all the quality assignments first, such as reading. If your child doesn’t have time to get to the “busy” work, skip it.
  • Check into your school’s or district’s homework policies, if they have one. Go to the principal or superintendent and ask how they can help you and your child to better manage the homework load.

Homework is meant to help your child succeed in school. When it gets in the way of vital daily activities like sleeping and spending time with family it is time to make changes to your child’s homework routine.