Helping all children become happy learners
How do you get your child to engage with homework?
Homework can be an important way of consolidating learning from school. However, its benefits can often be outweighed by the disruption to home life that it causes. Many children have less than positive attitudes towards homework tasks and will engage in a whole range of behaviours to avoid doing homework. This can go from simple delaying tactics to outright refusal. Homework then, is often a source of tension within the home that fuels many family arguments. For many parents, finding a way for homework to be done without the confrontations with their children would make home life a lot more enjoyable. Below there are a range of strategies that have worked for many parents when used consistently.
Have a Routine
Establish routine - when is the best time to do it? Some children are better at doing homework straight away when they get home from school whilst others need a complete break. Understanding what works for your child can help you establish a more effective homework routine. Where is the best place to do homework? Try to avoid other children doing fun activities whilst the child is doing their homework. Better to have all children doing homework or quiet activities at the same time.
When establishing a routine take into account any behavioural needs of the child. For example children with ADHD will often need time for physical exercise before being able to sit and concentrate on homework. And some children with ASD may want to have a very fixed routine about when they do things and so it may be best to choose a homework time that is less affected by other influences on family time.
Limit time for homework to an appropriate length for their age and ability. Check with your child's school how long they should spend on homework. If your child has done that amount of time then write a note to say to the teacher to say so.
Having agreed homework rules written down and displayed can be a very useful tactic in avoiding the child's frustration, with having to do homework, being redirected at the parent. Instead, it is the rules that get the blame and this can be a powerful way of reducing the severity of arguments.
Drinks and Snacks
It can often be better to settle your child to their homework task and then give them a drink and snack. This can be an opportunity to make the homework a bit more enjoyable. It can also be a more efficient use of time.
Use a reward system to motivate them to achieve the target of doing homework independently or without fuss. Small incentives given more frequently work better than big rewards for motivating children.
Value the time with your child
Homework can be a great opportunity for your child to get some parent time - try making it an enjoyable shared experience. If you don't enjoy it your child is also unlikely to.
Not before bedtime
Avoid homework in the hour before bedtime as this can interfere with their sleep cycle and is not effective for learning. If, for reasons out of your control, homework is not done before the start of bedtime routine; it may be better to get up early than stay up late to do it.
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