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Tips to help students overcome homework anxiety

Your child may be coming home with a good amount of homework, but getting it done doesn't need to be a struggle.

MINNEAPOLIS — School is back in full swing, which means homework assignments are piling up again.

For many kids, homework is the last thing they want to do after a long school day. But if your child is in a homework funk, there are ways to get them out of it.

Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a cognitive specialist from Brain Balance, says some students may shut down when they sit in front of their textbook or even avoid assignments altogether. She says that often means the material may be difficult for them.

In that case, parents should take a few minutes to sit with their children and make sure they're understanding the instructions and material.

Kids are also prone to procrastination, which could mean their energy and focus are running low.

"One of the things you can do as a parent is take a step back and say, 'Have they gotten enough sleep? Are they well-rested? Have they eaten? Protein is so great to help the brain focus,'" said Jackson.

Dr. Jackson says we can't forget that a lot has happened in our world over the past year and a half that can trigger these behaviors.

"All of us in so many ways are functioning with heightened feelings of anxiety, greater struggle with attention and focus and productivity," said Jackson.

Junior Marissa Horsman couldn't agree more.

"This pandemic really brought out a lot of mental health struggles in a lot of students and therefore that reflected on their grades," Horsman said.

Dealing with ADHD and anxiety herself, Horsman says reaching out to her parents for help with homework was a key step in getting back on track.

"Make sure you spend some time looking at things. Don't just think 'I'm going to turn things over to them and they're in charge of their own education,'" said Jenny Floria, Marissa's mom.

Horsman says it's also on the student to want to set themselves up for success.

"Make yourself a schedule. If you have live lessons or Zoom calls. Make yourself that schedule and mix it in with your personal life as well," Horsman said. "It's a struggle, but no matter what, I know everyone can make it through."

More tips on supporting your child this school year are available here.