One of the most common comments I hear from parents is that they find trying to help their children do their homework difficult. So many parents say homework leads to frustration, arguments, and tears (and not just from the children). Some parents often feel it is their personal responsibility to make their children do well in school. With such a huge responsibility it is perfectly normal to be anxious about your kids' success in the future. Homework often becomes the focus of this anxiety. It is important to know that you cannot make anyone do anything, we can only guide our children the best we can.
When you feel that it is your responsibility to get your children to achieve, you then need something from your child. You need them to do their homework. This dynamic can lead to power struggles and arguments. Because you may feel nervous about your child succeeding, you may become easily frustrated when you are trying to help them. Or your child starts fighting to have control over the choices in their life and one of the ways they can do this is with homework. Your child might start forgetting to do their homework, not handing it in, completing it carelessly, or not studying properly.
There are some helpful things that you can do to keep the homework battles to a minimum. Keep reading for some concrete tips to help you guide them without having to nag, threaten, or argue.
How Should Parents Help With Homework?
Tip Number 1 Set Up a Homework Area
Set up a homework-friendly area. Whether it be the kitchen table, a desk in their room, or a study. Make sure it is well lit, quiet, and comfortable. Keep supplies like pencils, paper, glue, and scissors ready to go. Try to keep distractions to a minimum by turning off the TV, and putting away devices they don’t need for their work. Perhaps you can spend some time setting up an area together and choosing some nice stationery to use.
Tip Number 2 Make a Schedule
Schedule homework and study time. Some children like to get it done straight away, some prefer to do it after dinner. Sit down and discuss with your child what they would prefer and schedule in a time that works for everyone. Each day might be slightly different depending on what other after-school activities are happening and your own schedule.
Tip Number 3 Take a Break
Stop fighting with them about homework. Don’t engage in arguments about homework. Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. If they don’t do their homework then they need to explain to their teacher why they didn't and suffer the consequences. Stay focused on your job, which is to help your child do their job. Don’t do their homework for them.
If you feel frustrated when helping your child with their homework, take a break. Your rising blood pressure and emotional response is a no-win for everyone in the household. Happy mum (or dad) happy house!. Take five or ten minutes to calm down, and let your child do the same if you feel a storm brewing.
Tip Number 4 Let Them Suffer The Consequences
I’m a big believer in natural consequences They can choose to do their homework properly or not at all. The natural consequences will come from their choices—if they choose not to do their homework, their grade might drop or they miss out on rewards at school.
When that happens, you can ask them some honest questions:
“Are you satisfied with how things are going?”
“What do you want to do about your grade situation?”
“How can I help you?”
“How did you feel when you missed out on the class reward?”
Try to be neutral when asking these questions. Show honest concern and try not to show disappointment.
Tip Number 5 Create a homework plan
When your child becomes frustrated with their homework, don’t force them to finish it. Instead, take a 10-minute break and then create a plan to tackle it:
read and understand the homework task
break the homework task into smaller logical chunks
discuss how much time is required to complete each chunk
work backwards from the deadline and create a timeline
put the timeline where the child can see it
encourage your child to mark completed chunks to see the progress made on the task
Tip Number 6 Set an Example
Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice. Explain to your child why you do household tasks that are similar to homework like creating meal plans, writing shopping lists, managing finances, and other life admin. When they understand that “homework” is just a part of life they might be more inclined to get on with it.
Tip Number 7 Make Sure They Do Their Own Work.
They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it's a kid's job to do the learning. The teacher knows when you do it for them too!
Tip Number 8 Praise Their Work and Efforts.
Kids respond to positive praise! Give them lots and lots of positive reinforcement for doing their homework. Even things as small as, getting started without asking them more than once, working at a difficult problem for 2 to 3 minutes without getting frustrated, not complaining about doing their homework, and getting on with things. Go mad with stickers, reward charts, their favourite dinner or snack, or any other reward you know your child will love. Post an aced test or art project on the fridge. Mention their hard work to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other loved ones.
Tip Number 9 If There Are Continuing Problems With Homework, Get Help.
If after trying all of these tips you are not having any success with homework, consider getting some outside help. Chat to their classroom teacher and your child to see if there are some other reasons why they don’t want to do their homework. Think about outsourcing homework by hiring a private tutor. This way you don’t have to worry about arguments, and they have the added benefit of being coached by a trained teacher. If you are interested in finding out more about private tutoring click our link here.
Some other things you can do to support your child’s education is to take an active role in their education by knowing their teacher and engaging with the school community. Other things you can do are; engage your child in topical discussions, read with them, and provide them with other learning opportunities like going to a museum, watching a documentary, or researching something online together.
It is important to remember that you can support your child's learning in many ways, not just by helping them with their homework. In fact, just by reading this article, you are helping your child to achieve their best! Remember you support them every day by providing them with all of life's needs and luxuries to make sure they can be as successful as possible and that is something to celebrate.
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