With the start of a new school year, comes the responsibility of homework. From time to time, noncompliance, frustration, screaming and yelling can be combined with this task. To help avoid battles and headaches that can sometimes accompany homework, try these helpful tips.
Tips To Get Your Child To Do His/Her Homework:
• Determine a schedule. Make sure that your house has a routine for when it is time to do homework. Everyone should be aware and in agreement of when homework needs to be completed, and the designated time should remain the same everyday. For example, homework could be started as soon as your child gets home from school or right after dinner. In regards to the weekends, homework could be done on Fridays when they get home from school or on Saturday mornings. It is a good idea for your child to complete the work as early as possible so they are able to enjoy their weekend and do not have the task hanging over their heads. Waiting until Sunday night may cause your child to rush on a particular assignment. In order for your child to have ownership, they should help with creating the homework schedule. Involving your child with the input and creation of the homework schedule can help them get on board and be more likely to follow through.
• “First, then” directives. Even with having a time schedule for when homework should be completed, you can still run into complications. Your child might want to do something more personally reinforcing than doing their homework. For example, they might want to watch television, play basketball or a video game, etc. When these situations arise, provide a simple “first, then” directive (i.e., “First you finish your homework, then you will have time to play basketball before dinner.”)
• Establish an area. Just like having a set time for your children to do their homework, there should also be a specific area in which homework is done. Once again, including your child in designating the location of the area can be very beneficial. With picking a homework station, you want to select an area that will have minimal distractions. For instance, completing homework at the kitchen table, computer room, or office studio might all be good places. Another option could be to go to the local library to complete homework. Make sure your designated space has all the proper supplies necessary: paper, pencils, art supplies, etc., in order to help limit time wasted locating and getting items to start the task.
• Let them pick. Let your child decide what subjects, he/she does first. As long as your child completes all of his/her homework it should not matter what assignment is completed first or last. If your child is having a hard time getting the amount of work done daily, or becomes especially frustrated with certain assignments, it may be helpful to discuss with his/her teacher some of the following suggestions: a strategy for what daily assignments should get priority, a time limit for a specific task, check lists for organizing what needs to be done, breaking assignments into chunks, outlining the steps of certain assignments.
• Keep quiet. While your child is working on homework it is wise for you to keep quiet and do your “homework” too. If you are being loud or engaging in more fun/exciting activities, your child might try to escape from their task and try to partake in what you are doing. While your child is working, this could be a good time for you to pay bills, read a book, or do some housework. You want to try to avoid doing things like watching television, playing on the computer, or doing Wii Fit.
• Guide; don’t do. You want to provide help and guidance while your child is doing homework. However, you do not want to do their assignments for them. Take a step back and only get involved when they ask for your help. Provide just enough help and prompts so they can continue to complete the assignment as independently as possible. If your child is able to do the task independently, look over their work when they claim to be finished. This will show you are interested in what they are completing and enable an opportunity for praising their work when done appropriately.
• Praise. The verbal praise given to your child when completing his/her homework and bringing home good grades should let them see how happy and proud of them you are. In addition, you can also use tangible reinforcers (i.e., going out for ice cream, giving them a special toy they wanted, having some extra television or video game time, or money). You may want to choose these types of rewards for a particularly challenging test, project, or assignment since you do not want to always rely on these tangible reinforcers. You do not want your child to always expect something for completing their homework or getting good grades; instead, you want to show them the personal satisfaction gained from working hard and trying their best when achieving a goal.
• Natural consequences. If your child flat out refuses to complete his/her homework, let them endure the natural consequences of not doing their homework. Write your child’s teacher a note or send an email informing him/her that your child had the time and opportunity to complete the homework assignment but chose not to do it. With the natural consequences of disappointing the teacher, points being deducted because of the assignment being late, or receiving a zero on the assignment, can make your child realize how important it is to do his/her homework.