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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

8 Ways to Overcome Homework Anxiety

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 21st 2011



chewed pencilWe’re in the first few weeks of school now for many kids and with that often comes a bit of anxiety. One of the biggest concerns for parents is when the kids develop anxieties around their homework. All of a sudden homework doesn’t get done, it’s not handed in, or it’s just not done well. The kids fall behind, they feel it, anxiety increases and pressure from the parents mount. It’s a destructive cycle. A couple years ago I interviewed Diane Peters Mayer, MSW a psychotherapist who works specifically with overcoming school anxiety.

In her book, Overcoming School Anxiety, she suggests 8 ways to get past fear of homework:


  1. Be open to your child about her fears of homework.

  2. Communicate frequently with your child’s teacher. Know what work is required and even spend some time once in a while in the classroom to find out how the work is taught.

  3. Be mindful of your frustrations in the face of homework setbacks. Be clear what your expectations are for the homework.

  4. Create a homework workspace for your child.

  5. Be flexible with the homework schedule, knowing how long it will take and being clear when it will be done. Reward your child with praise, time with the family or a special TV show.

  6. Check your child’s homework and review any teacher comments.

  7. Limit TV and computers. Do things that are creative and reinforce the content of the education.

  8. Make reading and learning a family pursuit that is fun.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t pay to expect perfection from your child, but instead to show how we can learn from our mistakes.

When your child gets stressed, try relaxation exercises. If you don’t know them, it may be good to learn yourself so you can lead by example.

Here’s a popular STOP practice as one example, give it a shot.


As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.




Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Something else to consider - Janet Singer ( - Sep 21st 2011

If something just doesn't seem right when your child is trying to do his/her homework, just keep in mind there might be something more going on than just every day homework frustration. If your child spends way too much time trying "to get it right," by constantly erasing and rewriting, for example, or if everything has to be "just so" in order to do homework, they may be dealing with OCD. Recent studies have reported that up to 80% of adults with OCD report onset of symptoms in childhood. The sooner we can help those with OCD, the less they (and we) will have to just keep that on your radar screen and check it out with a professional if you have real concerns.

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