4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Do Their Homework
By Alicia Purdy
If you think long and hard, it's not too difficult to remember what it was like being the same age as your kids are now, right? Well, then you remember exactly what you wanted to do when you got home from school-nothing. Your kids are no different, except that instead of wanting to play ball, hang out with friends or watch the after-school special on T.V., your kids want time to text or play video games on their various digital screens. No matter how your kids choose to relax, they'd probably choose doing just about anything over doing their homework.
Getting your kids to do their homework is a battle that has been waged for as long as homework has existed. Now that you're the parent, you can appreciate the struggle your parents had with you. You understand why it's important and you're prepared to step into the battle zone yourself. The good news is that getting your kids to do their homework doesn't have to be a fight. Check out these four ways to get your kids to do their homework:
Use a Rewards System - Yes, kids should learn to do their homework because it's important. You're right that their boss will not reward them with extra screen time or candy if they do their jobs without arguing. However, surviving the homework years is more about the smaller battles than the entire war. Talk to your kids about motivation and help them learn what makes them feel motivated. Some kids like working towards long-term rewards. Some need immediate gratification. Once you help your child find what motivates him, seek ways to provide that type of motivation. This is an approach that may develop a habit for later in life too - they will have to know how to motivate themselves to meet their goals. Make sure that your kids understand that they can work to earn a reward, but you are not enticing them to work by paying them for something they didn't really earn.
Make it Fun - Homework in and of itself is usually a drag in the minds of most kids, especially if there's a lot to do. However, when you interact with them, you can help make the time spent fun, if not the work itself. For example, if your child needs to learn spelling, ask them their words in the middle of silly, funny sentences. If there are math problems, get them laughing by telling them math jokes you found online. Kids can't stop homework from happening, but you can help lower the "dread factor" by being present to offer support and company. Studies show that when parents help kids with their homework, grades are very positively affected.
Create a "Homework Zone " - Yes, kids can sit at the kitchen table and do their homework, and some will. However, if you're struggling to get your kids to do their homework, have them help you make a dedicated "homework zone." It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be tailored to the needs of your kid. Does your child need silence? Would he prefer to sprawl out or sit at a desk? Talk to your kids about how they prefer to study and help make that happen for them. Giving them a measure of control over where they do their homework will help them take some ownership over getting it done.
Compromise a Little - Sometimes kids need to decompress after a day at school. They have their stresses just like everyone else. If your children are resisting doing their homework right after school, set a timer and let them unwind for a designated amount of time, even in front of the TV. Make sure they understand how much time they have and give them a few reminders as time winds down. Let them know that you are compromising and that if they agree to the deal, they have to hold up their end of it - to start their homework as soon as the allotted time is up.