It’s that dreaded time of the day, when the call of homework gets louder and louder. Your child doesn’t want to do it and you are not looking forward to the struggle, debate or battle of wills that will probably ensue as a result. But it has to get done as the deadline looms.
So what can be done to make life much easier when it comes to the tedious task of getting your child to do his / her homework?
Below are some tips that have been proven to be quite helpful.
For one thing, it shouldn’t be a one-sided affair. What does that even mean? It means it shouldn’t just be you as the parent wanting the homework to get done. After all, the homework should ultimately be the child’s responsibility and a good discussion about that should take place. A parent once questioned the idea of a discussion with her child about doing his homework. “Why do I have to have that discussion with him when everyone else is doing it?”
Well, the fact that everyone else is doing something, may not be justification enough for that thing to be done. Your child may understand the situation better if you have that ‘chat’ with him/her. The interesting thing is, you never know what might be unearthed during the course of your discussion with your child. There may be other issues or factors, hindering your child from embracing the concept of homework and understanding or addressing these issues may help turn things around.
Lay off with the pressure a bit
Instead of hounding your child to go and do their homework, you might need to find other strategies to encourage your child to do their homework. Perhaps a build-up to the situation, by enquiring about your child’s day; what he/she did in school, what they found most interesting etc This sort of ‘banter’ should actually be the order of the day; to find out how things went at school, if all was ok etc but we will save that for another day.
Getting back to the matter at hand, once your child has ‘loosened up’ and has given you the low-down on his/her day in school, you could then ask about any assignments given, deadlines, special notes etc
Your child should be quite forthcoming at this point, as this would be a natural follow-on from the events of the day. You could at this point apply some diplomacy and ask your child how he/she plans to tackle the homework, if there is any aspect of it that they might find tricky and schedule a time when you can both have a sit-down and go through and discuss the homework. This way, there is a scheduled arrangement in place, which has been agreed by both parties.
Make study / homework time a routine
Your child is more likely to put up less resistance when it knows (and is used to) that certain time of the day when homework or study time needs to be observed. A little ritual of turning off the tv, and removing all forms of distraction, could also help to get your child in the right state of mind for study time. A nice incentive could be to have a fun activity right after, so that gives your child something to look forward to – if the work has been done to your satisfaction!
Make it a family affair
We all know that it’s never fun doing things that we find too tasking, alone. It just makes it all the more undesirable. But what if it were a communal thing...? Now before you go scratching your head, thinking, “but hey....it’s my child’s homework, so how am I supposed to make that a communal thing?”
You can make it a communal thing, by getting as many of your family members to do their work at the same time. Once your child sees (and recognises) that everyone has something to do and it’s not just about him or her, they will be more likely to fall in line. A parent with two children, said that one of them never used to like reading, so what she did was to make reading fun, by creating ‘reading time’.
She would get them all to have their books out, she’d put on some background music and generally create a lovely ambiance for about an hour, within which they would all read, and this practice changed her child’s attitude to reading.
How, where, when, with whom etc will all play their role in influencing how the homework is done. If a child does its homework on its bed, it might fall asleep, or end up with handwriting that is not up to their usual standard, due to the soft and comfy nature of the bed.
If the homework is done in a place that has a lot of distractions, simply because the child still wants to be in the thick of things, it goes without saying that this could affect the child’s level of concentration.
There does need to be some structure applied to the practice, as this will create a workable and ideal framework within which to carry out the task: sitting at a table, in a less noisy part of the home, at a time that is conducive and with a proper plan on how to execute the task at hand.
Switch tactics as a parent
Instead of shouting – motivate, be more patient with your child, be a bit more generous with the praises and rewards and see how big an impact that could have on your child’s efforts.
There are many ways to explore when it comes to getting your child to do its homework, and you might have to try a few before you stumble upon the magic formula (if there ever was one!). You know your child and you will, therefore, be in a position to know which method is likely to stand a chance.
The most important thing is to make it a not seem like a chore, as that is what will rub off on your child. Also discuss and make sure you keep that door open, for your child to be able to come to you with his / her fears, concerns etc regarding the homework.
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