Every year parents are faced with the unbearable task of getting their kids to complete their homework. The work seems to increase every year and incrementally with each grade. After a long day at school, the very last thing a child wants to do is more work. As a parent it's important to understand the benefits of homework, so you can share this with your children.
Some of what is taught at school does not stick and needs to be reinforced. There is typically not enough time in the day to cover all the study lessons and finally homework instills a strong work ethic and sense of discipline, which they will need throughout their academic life. Here are some tips that may help.
Accept that most kids do not like homework.
Instead of trying to convince kids how fabulous and important homework is, especially in a fun-filled gadget world of escape, instead validate their feelings of reluctance and set boundaries, and then stand by with the expectations that they will be met. Your kids knowing that you understand how they feel will help them.
Discuss don't preach.
At the beginning of the year, talk about how your child will handle their homework. What part of each day, and for how long. Typically kids needs a break after school, a snack, and then homework. Some families wait until after dinner. Whatever time you decide on that works best for the family, make an agreement with your child and stay consistent. Allow your child to choose the time they feel most ready. This will give them a strong sense of control.
Figure out with your child, which is the harder homework, as this ought to be done first, not saved for last. If there is a specific area or topic that is difficult, this will become clear early on and where tutors are extremely helpful.
Facilitate, don't exasperate.
Nothing comes from screaming, bribing, pleading and promising. Of course you can choose to threaten your child and they will do the homework, but it won't help them in the long run or teach them to be self-reliant. To facilitate, provide your child with a clean workspace that is well-lit, peaceful and non-distracting. Make sure they have everything they need: paper, pencils, pens, rulers, and their binders. Take a few minutes to find out what they are working on so you can help them collect the materials.
Many kids now need a computer or access to a computer. Bookmark certain pages that may be helpful like the dictionary or thesaurus.
Invite your child to inform you of his or her progress and on any interesting facts they are discovering.
When there is a problem they cannot resolve, help them remember what was taught in class or read over the area in a book that will further explain.
Praise to motivate, not glorify
Praising work well done and downplaying poor performance goes a long way to keep your child enthusiastic and relieves a lot of stress, both on the child and you. Rewarding or bribing can backfire because the child is really only doing the work for that next computer game. They will not receive the satisfaction that comes with getting a job done well. You would be robbing them of something essential.
That is not to say getting a pizza or planning fun family time isn't a good idea after they complete a difficult assignment. This demonstrates how proud you are of them and ties their hard efforts back into family activities.
Let them fail
If your child refuses to do their homework, let them deal with the consequences at school. Eventually, this will stop happening without your intervention. Of course, if there are learning disabilities this does not apply.
Ignore your urge to be in school
By this, I mean, do not do your child’s homework. Every parent will face a time when they just want to sit down, answer the questions, write the paper, and get it done. Everyone is tired. Just walk away. Homework is a great way for kids to learn independent, lifelong learning skills.
Engage, but don’t lurk
Parents can sit by their kids as they work, but it’s not a good idea to keep asking questions about certain problems, or keep checking on their work. This might make your child feel less than capable. Allow them to work at their own pace.
Encourage breaks, play music
Finally, offer short breaks and snacks and be supportive. Your child will greatly appreciate this. Not only does this allow them to feel you believe they are smart enough to handle their own work, but you are there for them, understanding how difficult it may be. Music stimulates the mind. Playing some songs in the background is great for kids as long as this does not create too much distraction.
Happy back to school everyone and good luck to all your children!