Many parents resort to nagging, threatening, arguing, throwing up their hands and some may even resort to doing it with them, so much so that they end up doing it themselves.
When it comes to the homework tug-of-war, your goal should be to set limits, respect your child’s individual choices, and help motivate her to motivate herself.
Keep these suggestions in mind as you tackle the homework challenge:
- Recall a time when your child finished homework with no hassles. What was different? What made it work that time? Ask your child about it and believe what he says. See what works and motivates him instead of what motivates you.
- Stop nightly fights. If you want to stop fighting with your child about homework, then start tonight. Don’t let them pull you into a battle. Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student.
- Take a break: If you feel yourself getting frustrated as you try to help your child, take a break. When emotions escalate, very little will get accomplished.
- Set up a homework structure. Set aside a homework time, the same each night. Designate a homework place, preferably in a public area of your home. If your child’s grades are suffering, take away screen time so your child focus on her work.
- Make it the rule that weekend activities don’t happen until work is completed. Homework comes first.
- Let Your Child Make His Own Choices—and Deal with the Consequences. Within the parameters you set around schoolwork, your child should be free to make his own choices. Backing off will help him learn to be responsible. If you try to control the situation, it will probably turn into a power struggle.
- Allow for natural consequences. Within the structure you’ve established, your child can choose to do his homework or not, and do it well and with effort or not. The logical consequences will come from the choices he makes—if he doesn’t choose to get work done, his grades will drop.
- When you do see her grades suffer, invite yourself into the situation. Tell her: “It’s my job to help you do your job better. Let’s make a plan that will help you and I will check to be sure you are sticking to it. You and your child might need to meet with the teacher to discuss disciplinary actions should her grades continue to drop.
- Help him see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many children procrastinate doing homework because they think it will take too long. Ask your child to set a timer for the amount of time he feels he can work without needing a break. Open-ended work is intimidating and many kids find it easier to start working when they can see the end in sight.
- Don’t make it YOUR drama. Your child is the one with the homework, not you. While it is important to help a 10-year-old get his schoolwork done, don’t come across as anxious and desperate.
- Establish an appealing space. Some children work well at the dining room table, while
others prefer to sprawl out on the couch. Ask your child to think about what will best help him focus and relax. Help him create a space to work that is comfortable and inviting.
Whatever you do, remember that nagging doesn’t teach self-discipline and in reality causes your child to become more dependent on you.
Janis Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks.