Homework Time Anyone who has dealt with a strong willed child will know how stressful it can be for both child and parent to try and get them to do anything they don’t want to do. Homework doesn’t have to be painful if you are prepared. When giving directions to the child first find all the loop holes, all the reasons the child may so no and come up with your answers. If it takes you several minutes to come up with a reason as to why the child must do their homework, you have lost ground and the child has strengthened their resolve.
Be flexible. When the child comes home from school don’t pounce on them to get their homework done. Give them several minutes to shake off that school smell, get a snack and relax. Try to keep the time that home work is done standard. If you choose after dinner then make sure that every night after dinner there is time to complete homework. If there is a disruption in routine make sure that the child is well aware of the change and the reasons for the change.
Go with a reward system. If the child has several sheets of homework or one sheet of a particular subject that causes your child stress then break up the homework session. Have the child complete some of the homework and then let them take a break by engaging in an activity that relaxes them. Set a timer and make sure the child knows how much free time they will have.
Be available for help. You don’t need to sit with your child but you need to be close enough that they don’t have to search for you if they require help. If the child has to get up from their work to find you it will disrupt their focus and they may become distracted by someone else in the house. You don’t want to waste time refocusing them.
If the child fusses ignore their complaints. You know they have to get this work done and so do they. Keep redirecting their attention to the work at hand. Use statements like, “Show me how you do this.” and read the question out loud. Reading the question to your child while they sit in front of the page gets them to focus. Use your finger to point to each word, this motion will draw the child’s eyes to the page. Be interested in what they are doing. Your interest will show the child that their home work is important to you.
Make sure the room they do their homework in isn’t a major traffic area. If you have to use a high traffic area then make sure everyone in the house is aware that this particular block of time is homework quiet time. Tell any other children that may not have homework that for a particular period of time you will be off limits, unless there is an emergency. Let the other children know they will have to be somewhere else until their sibling is finished working.
Once the child has completed their homework praise them for doing their work. Acknowledge that they completed it nicely. If you make the child aware that you noticed their good work habits, they are likely to repeat them.
Some key points:
If the child has lots of work ask them what they would like to start with. This small gesture helps the child gain some control over an activity they don’t like.
Keep the work time as quiet as you can.
Be consistent about what time of day the work will be done.
Be available for help.
Use a rewards system.
Have everything the child will need ready before they start.
Be realistic in your expectations on how much time it will take. Remember this is all new for your child and they are just beginning to build their logic and knowledge base.
Be patient when they make the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe they need to be taught using a different approach.
Stay positive. Your positive approach will help your child maintain their good mood when completing their tasks.
Show interest in their work.
Homework does not need to be painful or a power struggle. Stay positive, use rewards and read the work over with our child. Showing an interest in your child’s’ work helps to create a positive feeling in your child and home work will not seem like such a chore.