Having trouble with “homework meltdowns?” For many parents and kids, homework can be a source of stress, conflict, and frustration. Try to end conflicts over homework, promote positive learning, and enjoy a healthier relationship with these helpful homework tips.
1. Create a Homework Contract. Based on a family discussion and the major homework issues at home, develop a Homework Contract with no more than four or five homework rules for the whole family. Have all family members agree to the contract, sign it, and agree on consequences for breaking homework rules.
2. Give kids an incentive. This doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but try giving children short and long-term incentives for doing their homework quickly and independently. It could be as simple as, “Sofia can watch TV if she finishes her homework by dinner.”
3. Make homework fun. “You have to do your homework. Do it now” is not as fun as “I’d love it if you could show me the cool things you learned at school today.” Sometimes making it sound like a chore will make it feel like even more of a chore than it has to be. Kids will be more likely to do it if it sounds like a fun thing to do.
4. Make a Homework Box. Avoid the “I can’t find a pencil” or “Where is my ruler?” excuses with an easily accessible homework box, full of necessary supplies and materials.
5. Promote organization. Help children clean out their backpacks, put together homework folders, and keep track of ongoing assignments, tests, and due dates.
6. Create a homework-friendly home. Ask the question, “If I were a kid, could I do homework at our house?” Is the home too noisy, too messy, or too dark? Think about ways to create a more homework-friendly environment.
7. Don’t hover over the child. Support children by making sure they understand the assignment, and then leave their side until they are finished. Be available to check assignments and answer questions when they are finished.
8. Make kids go to bed! It’s okay if the child stays up late once in awhile working on a project, but it should be a very rare occurrence.
9. Give Praise. Parental excitement, interest, and enthusiasm about the things a child does right are the keys to getting a child to be more cooperative about doing homework. Use constructive criticism when necessary, but avoid insulting, belittling, or hurtful remarks.
Homework doesn’t have to be a nightly battle. In fact, homework can be a great opportunity for parents to teach kids valuable life skills like problem solving, critical thinking, responsibility and determination; build their sense of self-worth and accomplishment; and encourage them to pursue their interests and enjoy learning.