It's a race to the finish, but rushing through schoolwork often means incorrect answers and sloppy handwriting. Getting your child to slow down helps her better process and internalize the material and produce her best work. A partnership with the teacher and interventions at home can help your student focus on quality over speed.
Partner With the Teacher
Your child's teacher spends most of the day with him, so it makes sense to work together if your child is rushing. Ask to meet with the teacher when you can fully discuss your concerns. The teacher has likely noticed the problem in the classroom. Work together to find strategies to get your child to slow down. The teacher might give only part of the assignment to your child at one time or have him cover up part of his paper so he focuses on one section. The teacher might use a timer so your child has to work on an assignment for a specific amount of time. If your child knows you are working with the teacher, he will learn he won't get away with rushing through the work.
Set Homework Time
Parents often say, "You can go play with your friends when you finish your homework." This is a logical statement, but it may encourage your child to rush through the work so she can go play faster. One way to eliminate that reward for rushing is to dedicate a specific amount of time to homework every night. If your child finishes the assignments early but still has time left in the homework session, she can study or do other academic activities. Since she knows she'll have to study for the entire time, she may slow down on her assignments. If you're not sure how long to allot for homework time, start with 10 minutes times your child's grade level. For fifth grade, that would mean 50 minutes, for example. Some educators suggest 60 minutes for seventh and eighth grade. At the high school level, homework should take about 90 minutes each night.
Do It Again
You can often identify rushed work by the sloppy handwriting and unusually high number of incorrect answers. If the teacher doesn't make your child redo the work, have him do it again at home. Even if the correct answers are written in when the teacher checks the paper, have your child work through the problems a second time. When his handwriting is sloppier than normal, have him erase and write the words again. If he knows he has to do the work twice, he may slow down the first time to do a better job.
Talk About It
Instead of nagging your child or getting upset that she rushes, discuss why you want her to slow down. Point out examples on assignments of questions she missed because she didn't read directions carefully or because of small mistakes. Explain that doing her best work helps her learn and remember more and to get better grades. Slowing down in your own activities can also help teach your child to slow down. If she sees you constantly rushing through tasks, she may do the same thing.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.