Do you and your children fight constantly about homework? You nag them incessantly while they procrastinate until you are all stressed out and unhappy. Some families have daily homework struggles that can be mitigated with a few steps from the pros.
Start by getting involved with your child’s homework schedule. Communicate regularly with teachers and tutors so you know what tests and assignments are coming up. There’s a temptation to help with projects or even to do homework yourself, but teaching effective executive skills like prioritizing, organizing, studying and memorizing will only come with practice.
If your child is smart but scattered, consider a tutor who will help them with executive skills so that they are organized and can excel academically. Honing their executive skills will allow them to become effective independent learners who can cope on their own and will put an end to your daily homework headaches.
Ensure that your child has a good place to do homework that is free from distraction or disturbance. It should be well-lit and comfortable and there should be no TV, texting or other time-consuming distractions.
Choose the right time of day. Asking your child to do homework right after school may be a little much and it’s understandable that they will want some time to decompress. Doing homework too late at night when they are tired is also a bad idea.
Help your child with time management so that they factor in enough time to complete homework, assignments and bigger projects to avoid the last minute panic. Encourage them to do the most difficult tasks first.
Food can play a big part in your child’s mood. Ensure that they eat healthy meals so that they have the energy they need to concentrate and avoid too much sugar.
Exercise may be just what the doctor ordered. Exercise helps to relieve stress and elevate mood, improve concentration and stimulate higher cognitive functions. If your child is struggling to get motivated or battling with an academic task, get them to do a little exercise.
Offer rewards and reinforce positive homework habits. If homework is done by the stipulated time and without you having to ask about it, offer rewards and praise.
Don’t let homework drag on all night. It may be good to let your child take a break and come back to it or to face the consequences of not turning in homework on time.
Be patient; changing ingrained habits can take time. Always work with the teacher and tutor who will both have great suggestions on how to get your child motivated. They can also let you know what your child needs to work on in order to improve their academic performance.
Pic by Michael Bentley