Help! That is the key to organizing your child into a homework routine bound for success.
Help! Not tell! Not do it yourself! HELP your child to be organized!
To help means to guide or to direct or to suggest or to support. Ultimately, the child facing homework needs to initiate the preparation.
How to walk this tightrope without resorting to a frustrated inner cry:
“I could do all this faster and better myself?”
“He/she can’t/won’t do it, so I will!”
Don’t give in! That is just what the child hopes you will do! Giving in and organising a child’s homework routine means the child is not learning this skill. Eventually, the problem will escalate as the child’s studies become more complex and demanding. It must be resolved as early as possible.
Here are some suggestions for any age group:
1. “Tea will be in an hour. How about you do your homework now, then you will have some free time after tea”. (Try the same message, Monday to Friday) The child still has to make a choice AND may have the opportunity to negotiate another time.
2. ” Do you want any help with homework tonight?” The child needs to make the ultimate decision.
3. “You have soccer training after school, that makes homework difficult. Is there anything I can do?” The child will appreciate your concern and understanding and may be more willing to settle to homework, especially if you add, “How about tea as soon as we get home? That will give you some time out and energy to do some homework?”
4. Ensure there is a table and chair available for the “spread” of homework. This is usually in the child’s room or the dining table may be available at particular times.
5. Ensure the house is quiet as possible while the child does homework. That minimizes distractions.
The older child, meaning the one in senior years, is far more difficult to help. Unfortunately, I can only say this amounts to “know your child” and “know your child’s needs”. Offer support, but do not feel offended if your efforts are rejected. Just be there! If your child wants to discuss a topic studied, make every effort to do so. Drop everything! You will be rewarded with the child wanting to share more; wanting to communicate. This is priceless! You both need these moments to avoid other emotional problems.
Here are some DON’T”S:
1. DON”T say “I am going to check that you have done your homework.” This is a threat and may encourage rebellion or devious ways of saying it is done.
2. DON’T check the child’s bag for any evidence of homework. This habit will only encourage the child to leave “guilty” books at school.
In summary, I wish I could offer a neat, perfect answer that suits all. But organizing your child is to take every opportunity to make suggestions for getting homework done. It means trying to keep some time in the family routine that is available and negotiable for homework. But ultimately, it must remain with the child whether the offers of support are accepted or not. Even when all “seems” to fail, just keep on being there. You may be surprised!