Pomodoro Technique- Help Manage Your Child’s Homework

Much like the apple that fell on Newton’s head, we have a tomato-shaped timer to thank for Pomodoro Technique. It inspired a then university student named Francesco Cirillo, who struggled to focus on his studies to become an inventor of the world’s famous time management technique. The best thing about this method is its simplicity, because that’s how Francesco Cirillo first thought of it—he challenged himself to study for 10 minutes, and just followed up with more of those 10 minute streaks. He grabbed the next closest thing to keep track of his time—a tomato shaped timer—which is literally how it got its name, the Pomodoro (Tomato in Italian) method.

“Done is better than perfect.”

–Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook (Meta)

Psychologist Lisa Damour says, students often feel stressed because “they overestimate the difficulty of a situation and underestimate their ability to deal with it.” With Pomodoros, the emphasis isn’t on finishing a task, it’s on starting it — and once they get started, they often realize that it isn’t as difficult as they imagined it to be. 

That’s where Pomodoro technique comes handy, it gets you to finish tasks, one at a time. 

Dealing with Distractions

Why do children get distracted? You could blame it on many external factors, and gadgets are likely to be your top reason. However, more often than not, procrastination is a self-defense mechanism against dealing with negative emotions. When children feel overwhelmed by their homework or are struggling with a particular topic or lagging behind in school, it affects their confidence and makes them turn to things that seem more rewarding. In that case, you have to probe in and find out if there is a specific problem where they could use your help. 

The First Step: Plan as a team

Children are likely to get intimidated by the enormity of their homework and struggle with how to get started. That’s when a friendly offer for help can get them excited about the task. 

-Ask them to take you through the homework and portion to revise.

-Find out their strengths and weaknesses. Starting with what comes easy can boost their confidence.

-Plan & prioritize. Get a sense of how many Pomodoro sessions they may need every day and insist them to stick to the plan. 

-Help your child choose the right material to study and keep a track of all Pomodoro sessions. 

How to stick to a Pomodoro session

Each pomodoro should focus on a single task and each break should help reset attention. 

An average Pomodoro session is 25 minutes long, but you can also try shorter or longer sessions according to your child’s attention span. Use a timer to record the time and set small goals for each session. 

Explain the Pomodoro like a game of focus, in which they only think and work on the task at hand in the due time. This is also an effective way to teach kids accountability.  Introduce a doubt-solving system. They may get stuck and spend time worrying about it. E.g., If they struggle with a particular sum, ask them to note it down and move to the next sum. 

Big Tasks, Small Steps

When it comes to a complex subject or a long-term study plan, make sure you break down the topics into small Pomodoros. Challenging subjects may bring mental resistance and make them put it on later. Ensure there is a good balance between your Pomodoros, don’t finish off all the easy tasks at once and save all the challenging ones for later. Offer or arrange external help if they are struggling with fundamentals, then ask them if they are ready to practice on their own. 

State of Flow- Mastering Interests

Once your child gets used to this method, try increasing the duration of Pomodoros or increase the frequency of their sessions. You can start with a session as short as 5 minutes, just like the inventor of this method did and take it to 40-60 minutes, depending on the depth of focus the task requires. 

Longer sessions get you in a state of flow, where you may lose track of time and delve deep into the topic. Let your child also experience the joy of following their curiosity and master their interests. They may use their free time to explore communities with similar interests, take up projects and build something great. 

Did you know?

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