Let’s face it — kids dislike homework. They would probably procrastinate indefinitely if a parent didn’t intervene.The only problem is that our intervening can quickly develop into nagging and even yelling, both of which seldom have the desired outcome.
Parents want their children to learn and develop the necessary study skills for success, but so often our well-intended efforts end in mutual frustration and arguing. If homework time is making your child cranky — and turning you into a homework nag — try a few of these tips.
Make an attitude adjustment
Parenting can be difficult no matter the gender of your child. In addition to providing them with enough time and love, your child needs to be guided as to the importance of everyday tasks such as their homework.
Chances are you as the parent dislike and dread homework almost as much as your child! Homework battles can simply elevate these pre-existing attitudes. Remind yourself that homework isn’t something annoying to check off the list, but a way for your child to practice and learn new skills. This doesn’t just help them to pass a test, but also helps them succeed beyond academics.
Create the Right Environment
Kids are creatures of habit, and if they associate a certain time and place with their homework and their studying, they are going to be much more inclined to get it done. Create a study space for your child. Make sure they have a comfortable place to sit in a location that is free of noise and distractions. Ideally, this is a place which is quiet enough for them to work but enough a part of the main house that you can peek in from time to time. Having a space set apart just for them and just for a certain activity delights most children.
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Identify the problem
Is the problem with homework motivational or does your child actually lack the specific skills or abilities necessary to do the assignment? Assessing the issue as one, the other or a combination of both will help you pinpoint the best response.
Help your child to set goals regarding homework. Together, establish an age-appropriate reward system for completing a week of homework. This can be done with a chart which provides visual documentation of progress.
Study smarter, not harder
Research demonstrates that consistent study routines and environments do NOT facilitate learning. In fact, alternating study environments results in deeper learning as does varying both the study routines and the content being studied. Studying in different environments is better because it forces the brain to make multiple associations with the same material thus encoding it more deeply. This may actually be a huge relief for many parents. With busy after-school schedules, parents may often get stressed about the ability to complete homework in “a quiet, consistent environment.” Parents need not be afraid to have a child study at a game, a friend’s house, in the car or at the dentist office.
Build confidence and Continue to Praise
Connect a child’s success with the effort they make. Rather than praising their abilities, focus instead on how hard they studied their spelling words and how that effort paid off with a good grade.
Shorten the Study Sessions
Even adults learn best when information is presented in 20-minute chunks, so think about what it must be like for children who have significantly shortened attention spans. Allow your child to study in 15 to 20 minute chunks and give them a five minute break in between. During this five minute break, encourage them to get up, to get a drink of water and to stretch their legs. The rule, however, is that if they have work to do, they need to go back. This helps them cement the place that studying needs to have in their minds they will understand that they need to return to it if they are not done. Create Goals