How to get your kids to do homework
Most kids do not want to do their homework. Some don’t do homework until you argue, nag, bribe or beg. Even then you still have to struggle to get them to do their homework. The following tips and suggestions should help you motivate them to get their homework done.
Establish a homework routine
Children have to complete their homework. They have no choice. Homework is something that needs to be done everyday but they can decide where and when they want to do their homework. The “when” has to be reasonable. Children cannot start homework at bedtime or a few minutes before bedtime. Ensure that your child will have enough time to complete homework in the planned time frame. Once you have set a time stick to it each day. Children like structure even though they do not always admit it. Let your child decide where to do homework but try to establish good learning habits i.e. at a desk with a comfortable chair. If your child will only do homework at the kitchen table it might not be something you want to argue about. What happens if your child wants to do homework in front of the TV? It really depends on the child. Most children cannot concentrate in front of the TV whereas some children need the TV in order to concentrate.
Stick to the homework routine
Keep the homework routine predictable and stick to it each day. Let your child know a few minutes before the time that current activity must come to an end. Ask your child to let her friends know what time she does her homework and ask them not to come around at this time.
It is your child’s homework not yours
It is your job to assist your children when they need assistance but not to do their homework for them. You provide the structure and assistance but your child is the one who actually needs to do the work. It is their report card. Make them take responsibility for their homework. Make sure that they understand the implications of not doing homework and not succeeding at school. Children often request assistance when they do not really need it. Don’t assist right away but rather help your children reach the point where they cannot continue. Even then let them try and explain why they have made a mistake. Anything that we learn for the first time is confusing and strange. It is important to learn that they should not give up right away. It is better to let your child solve a problem and explain why she made a mistake and how to correct it than to solve the problem for her.
Provide all the required tools and enable required skills
Make sure that your child has a quiet place to do homework with a desk, chair, necessary equipment and good lighting. This will encourage good learning habits.
Homework time is an excellent opportunity to provide your child with tools and enable skills that will be needed in adult life too such as self discipline, organizational and time management skills. If you notice that your child is disorganized and keeps losing books and equipment help him develop an organization system. This is something that will be later used in every stage of life. If your child has time management issues you can help with these too. Teach him time management skills and tips and they will serve him later on in life. Explain how to decide what to do first, how to prioritize and set a schedule insuring you complete a task before the due date.
Limit distractions during homework time
If your child finds it distracting to hear TV in the background make sure that the TV is off during homework time. If you have younger children who want to watch TV then they can do so before or after homework time. This sends them a positive message that homework time is an important time and they need to respect that. They can watch TV somewhere else or preferably do something else. Cutting down their TV time will probably only help them!
Provide positive feedback and encouragement
Provide positive feedback as often as possible. Encourage your children to want to succeed as much as you want them to succeed.
Use a homework chart to keep track of homework and to remind you to provide encouragement
Some children require monetary rewards and are only motivated by them. Try not to reach a stage where your child needs a reward each day in order to get homework done. Homework is something that your child has to do no matter what. They do not need to be rewarded for doing their homework. If on the other hand they do their homework without you having to ask them you could give them a sticker on their homework chart. At the end of the week you could give them a small treat. This encourages responsibility and eventually makes doing homework without being asked a habit. You will find that they don’t even need a sticker at a certain stage. Getting good grades and succeeding at school becomes the perfect reward! Each time they succeed focus on their feelings. Ask them if it feels good that to have received the grade the got, to have completed the task, to know that they have no homework to do over the weekend because they completed it ahead of time. Focus on these good feelings and turn them into intrinsic motivators. The goal is to build an internal reward system so that they motivate themselves.