How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Homework Without A Battle
Image Credit: Annie Spratt
This is a guest article by Parent Support Adviser Ann Beck.
Once the novelty of returning to school has worn off and the reality of homework sets in, there are few parents who haven’t experienced the trials and tribulations of making sure the kids’ homework is completed and handed in on time. Those who haven’t are the lucky minority.
So why do many children turn into teenage stereotypes with drooping shoulders and huffs and puffs as soon as their parents dare to utter the words....."Time to do your homework"....and is there anything we can do as parents to ease the pain (ours and theirs!)?
For countless children homework is an inconvenience interrupting tv viewing time, electronic games or playing out time, after spending a whole day at school conforming and exercising their brains they’ve had enough and who can blame them. Here lies our first insight into the pre-war stand-off – understanding and empathy.
Ann's Tips For Encouraging Kids To Do Their Homework
- Offer them understanding, they’ve worked hard all day, recognise that they need a chance to ‘chill’ and unwind when they come home – a drink and a snack can help re-energise and feed the brain.
- Sit down with your child and have a discussion, ask for their views and make sure you listen – ‘I understand you’re finding homework difficult to fit in, I’d like to help you, can you tell me what I can do to make things a little easier for you?’
- During your discussion be sure to re-iterate that homework is a necessary part of school life, help your child to understand the benefits of homework e.g. independent learning, aids understanding of lessons, enhances skills for later life such as prioritising.
- Make sure they understand the boundaries and consequences of not doing homework – e.g. the TV must be turned off until it’s complete. When using computers – switch off social networking sites or chats – and explain why e.g. if you’re distracted it will take you longer and then you won’t have time to play out.
Image Credit: svklimkin
- If possible, create a space to do homework they can make their own – a desk, pen pot etc – many children like the feeling of being grown up that their own desk space affords them.
- Agree on a homework timetable and set times to do the work – choose a time that suits you too as there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to prepare a meal or answer your emails with constant interruptions and cries for help.
- Encourage them to be creative – pen and paper is no longer compulsory so explore more interesting ways of learning, play games, take photographs, use a computer or an app, watch a relevant educational programme.
- Be realistic – if your child is struggling and has put the effort in for an acceptable amount of time, write a note explaining and asking for more support.
- Find out whether your child’s school offers a homework club, encourage them to attend so that out of school their time is their own.
For some children homework will never be something they enthuse about but with a little understanding and a structured approach all out war can be avoided.
Remember, breathe deeply, stay calm, be interested and in the words of Winston Churchill – “never, never, never give up”!
© Ann Beck 2011 updated September 2021
About the Author: Ann Beck is a Parent Support Adviser and trained teacher of adults. She works with families, teens and young people to support them in challenging situations.
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