Before you had kids, you probably didn’t anticipate dreading homework time as much as your children do! It can be difficult to get through the nightly chore without whining, protesting and arguments on everyone’s part. The problem is that both you and your kids come home tired and needing a little TLC before delving into homework, household chores and dinner preparation. The good news is that homework time can turn into a calm, happy and enjoyable time for the entire family. Consider a few of these simple tips to get you started.
Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab CC License 2.0
- Take Five: Give your kids and yourself a break before delving in to homework and household chores. Carve out 15 to 30 minutes or more to just relax. Talk to your children about the day, snuggle or play a quick game. Leave the TV and other electronic devices off during this time, and don’t even think about all the chores on your own to-do list. Use this time as a transition between school/work and home.
- Create a Welcoming Space: A designated homework space helps your child get into the right frame of mind when he sits down to complete his work. Find a space in the home that you can stock with pens, pencils, paper and other supplies necessary for homework. If you have younger children running around, strategically place the homework station in an area without distraction or interruption.
- Consider Incentives: While you certainly shouldn’t have to reward your kids daily for completing homework, a little incentive or a friendly competition among siblings can motivate your children while eliminating the need for parental nagging. Develop a system that works for your family. Elementary-aged children might earn a sticker for getting homework done in a timely manner, with a special prize after earning 5 consecutive stickers. You might create a competition among older kids with a reward for the child who completes his homework correctly. Rewards do not have to be tangible, consider offering things like extra minutes of screen time, a later bedtime or a special activity with a parent.
- Be Present: Frustrations can easily arise when a child doesn’t understand the homework. Support your child while abstaining from doing the work for her by sitting down in close proximity while she completes her homework. Make yourself available for questions while making it clear she is ultimately responsible for completing the work. Use the time to read a book or catch up on paying bills and other paperwork.
- Praise: Recognize your children for their efforts in getting homework done. Instead of praising the product, offer encouragement of the process. Tell your child, “I’m impressed by the way you concentrated on your reading,” or “I love how you worked so hard on your math without giving up.” Your child will beam at the compliment while learning that hard work pays off in feelings of pride and self-confidence.
An over-all attitude adjustment can make a world of difference. Approach homework with positivity and confidence. Teach your children that homework might not always be the favorite thing to do, but it might as well be done with a smile. Perhaps you might follow the same advice when it comes to housework!