Most times, parents are trapped in a nightly homework struggle with their children and children take advantage of various excuses that seem endless, such as; “I don’t have any homework today”, “My teacher never looks at my homework anyway”, “That assignment was optional”, “I did it at school” and so on. If only your child could be that creative with their actual homework, getting good grades would be no problem. These strategies can help in dealing with homework struggles.
Trying to convince your child that grades are important can be a losing battle. You cannot make your child take school as seriously as you do; the truth is that they don’t typically think that way. It is not that they are not motivated; it is that they are motivated to do what they want to do. In order to get your child to do their homework, you have to focus on their behavior, not their motivation. So instead of giving them a lecture, focus on their behavior and their homework skills. For instance, if your child often says they have no homework, they may not be telling you accurate information, they may have completely tuned out their teacher’s instructions. Let them know that completing homework and getting passing grades are not optional.
It is important to monitor your child’s homework time. For families where both parents work, you may need to schedule it in the evening. For example, whether your child has homework or not, create a mandatory homework time each day for those classes in which your child is doing poorly. You can use the “10-Minute Rule” which recommends that children should be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. In other words, 10 minutes for first-graders, 20 for second-graders and so forth.
In many instances it may be more productive to have your child do their homework in a public space. This means the living room or the kitchen, or someplace equally public where you can easily check in on them. Let them know they can ask for help if they need it, but allow them to do their own work. If your child would like to do his or her homework in their room, let them know that they can earn that privilege when they have pulled up the grades in the subjects in which they are doing poorly.
Remember that sometimes, children do not place as much importance on schoolwork as you do. As you focus on their behavior, not their motivation, you should begin to see some improvement in their homework skills. You can use your child’s motivation to your advantage if they have something they would like to earn.
If you are facing the rest of the school year with dread and irritation, following the tips above can improve your child’s homework skills and reduce your frustration!