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By: Carrie Spencer of TheSpencersAdventures.net
You’ve taught them time management, you’ve made their daily schedule easier to handle, and you’re sure they’re getting enough sleep and are eating a healthy diet — yet your kids still don’t want to do their homework. There’s no reason for this other than they just don’t want to do it. You have a choice here: Either you can fight with them and force them to get the homework done, or you can take a look at why they really aren’t working.
Sometimes the homework truly is boring, and even you wouldn’t want to do it. But you can still figure out ways to make the process less of a bear for both of you. Amazing School Assemblies lays out a few below.
Show Them the Benefits of Getting It Done
Procrastination is likely the most common (and most annoying) issue that parents have to deal with when trying to get their kids to do their homework. Procrastination can be a symptom of a larger problem, and if you can figure out what that is and address it, then the procrastination issue should ease up. (It would be lovely if procrastination went away completely, but chances are you’ll have to deal with it again.)
For example, as Verywell Family points out, kids might be worried that they won’t do a good job, so they don’t want to start in the first place. Or, they might not really understand what they’re supposed to do but not want to look stupid by asking. If you can address the perfectionism and the nervousness behind not asking for help, then you can solve those types of procrastination.
But many times the procrastination is solely about just not dealing with boring subjects and brain-twisting problems. In this case, you have to show the child the benefits of getting the work over and done with. Ask them how they feel as they’re rushing to get an assignment done at the last minute. Have them try to call up that feeling and describe what it does to their ability to concentrate, and so on. Now ask them how they’d feel when the homework was done and they had time to spare.
Chances are they feel rushed and stressed when doing the work at the last minute, and relaxed when they’re done and have free time afterward. Tell them to call up those feelings when they want to avoid doing homework — those could have an effect. Also, take a look at how they set priorities. It could be one specific assignment is the really boring one, and creating a list of assignments to do in order could help.
Finally, Gerber Life suggests setting a good example yourself; don’t put off tasks that you know you have to do, like laundry, bill paying, and so on. Your kids watch you and pick up your habits.
Require Them to Take Breaks
Your kids have just spent several hours at school, and now they have a couple of hours, or more, of homework on the same subjects. That’s enough to make anyone have trouble getting to work. Your kids need time to recharge. When they get home from school or whatever after-school activities they have, require them to take a short break before starting their homework. Then, have them take breaks during their homework as well. If they’re having time management or productivity problems, something like the Pomodoro Technique could be of help as that mandates regular breaks.
It’s tempting to have your child get straight to work and keep working until the homework is done, but that’s counterproductive. It will only add to the fatigue and procrastination, as well as create more tension between you and your child.
For those learning remotely these days, earbuds or headphones are part and parcel to getting all the information, so it’s likely your child already uses a set for school. They’re also great for listening to music or YouTube channels, which you can allow for your child during their breaks. An ideal set has noise-canceling features that tune out outside noise, and if you go with a Bluetooth-enabled headset your child is able to move about the room without being tethered by cords to the laptop or tablet.
Set up a Reward System
You may have to resort to setting up a reward system for when your child has homework. Some children do very well with the promise of cartoons or a video game in exchange for getting work done. Remember not to present this as punishment; “no TV until your homework is done” just creates resistance in a lot of children. But “you can watch your favorite video once these two assignments are done” presents the video as a goal that the kids can work toward.
Another option is to keep a tablet with games on it specifically for the child to use as a reward. The Apple iPad 10.2, for example, can store many games and videos that the child can work their way through as they check off assignments on a to-do list. Your children need to know that finishing homework will lead to more than just another cycle of sleep-school-homework.
Letting them choose an age-appropriate game app, for example, gives them something fun to do and associates fun with completing homework. If you can’t get an iPad, you can also look at tablets like Amazon Fire or the Lenovo Tab for a more affordable option.
Last but not least, if your child is a baseball fan, now you don’t need to wonder where to find Yankees tickets – nor do you have to worry about hidden fees! And since you can purchase well in advance, this could be just the reward your child needs for a little extra motivation.
Conflict over homework is probably not going to go away completely, but you can make the whole process a lot easier for you and your child. Anything you can do that makes it easier for your child to just get to work and get the homework done will lighten your daily load. Keep trying different strategies and look for what works.
For nearly 20 years, Cris Johnson of Amazing School Assemblies has had the privilege of helping school officials make their elementary assembly programs unforgettable, educational, and fun with motivational programs consisting of magic, music, CLEAN comedy, and audience participation that reinforce the curriculum and encourage good character! Call (716)940-8963.