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It's Not Just You—Little Kids DO Get Too Much Homework!

Girl doing homework
Depending on where you live, back-to-school season is either just around the corner or already here. And that means your kids are back to early wake-up times, after-school activities and, of course, homework.

If you're already groaning about the impending onslaught of worksheets, spelling words, and science projects for your first grader, you're not alone. A new study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy explored just how much homework students are assigned and how that impacts family stress—and found that many young elementary school students have far more homework than what's recommended by the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA).

The NEA and the National PTA suggest a "10-minute rule," meaning homework load should not exceed 10 minutes per grade level per night beginning with 1st grade. It's recommended that kindergartners receive no homework.

However, parent participants (the study surveyed a total of 1,173 parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade) reported than their kindergartners spent roughly 25 minutes on homework, and first-graders spent about 28 minutes on their assignments each night. (As kids got older, however, the homework levels began to more closely match the groups' recommendations. Third graders, for example, averaged just under 35 minutes.)

"The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children's grades or GPA, but there's really a plethora of evidence that it's detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life," said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the study's contributing editor and clinical director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.

As for family stress, researchers found that as parents' confidence in aiding their child with schoolwork decreases, overall household stress increases. But we could have told them that!

Related: How to Catch Up on Homework

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

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Image: Girl doing homework via Shutterstock