For as long as school as has been around, children have dragged their feet when it comes to doing homework. There are all sorts of reasons for it. A child might be struggling in a class and homework might feel like hitting their head against a brick wall. A child may be very bright and find homework so easy that it’s downright boring. Or a child might just want to spend his or her time playing Guitar Hero instead. Whatever the reason, there are three things moms can keep in mind when homework starts becoming a battle.
1.) Establish consistency.
Just like getting your child to bed at a certain time each night is a matter of establishing a firm bedtime, children get more in the swing of doing homework when they are expected to do it at the same time every evening. While we all know life doesn’t always go according to schedule, we can certainly shoot for the same homework time every day on most days. The key to establishing consistent homework time is letting your child help set the time (within reason, of course. I know plenty of kids who are eager to set their homework time to midnight!). For younger children who need a time set for them, go with your instincts. Your child may be best able to focus immediately after they get home from school because they get too sleepy after dinner. Or your child might need to unwind a bit after school before homework time hits.
2.) Help them get organized.
Many children get frustrated about homework because they have no idea where to start. In their head, they envision an endless pile of homework that they could never possibly finish and their own anxiety keeps them from getting it done. Sometimes all it takes is for you to sit down with your child and help him make a list of everything he needs to do. When your child sees clear steps in front of him and everything that’s been stressing him out reduced to a short list, he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. You might even suggest he knock out his easiest work first to put some wind in his sails. Short breaks between individual assignments also work wonders.
3.) “I can do anything for five minutes.”
This is a great little mantra to teach your little ones when the whining battles begin. When it comes to homework, getting started is often the hardest part. Once you’ve finally gotten your child in front of her homework, have her say “I can do anything for five minutes” and tell her you will supervise while she works for a solid five minutes. Yes, only five minutes. After five minutes, allow your child to take a five minute break if she wants. The kicker here is that once your child has set to work for five minutes, the homework pulls her in and she often finds it easy to complete the assignment she’s started.
Finally, be sure to provide plenty of encouragement on those rare nights when homework isn’t a battle, or when your child finally puts in a good effort after a battle. Praise is a great motivator, and of course, so are hugs!
© 2010 – 2013, Food Fun Family. All rights reserved.