How do I get my kid to do homework? 5 Easy Tips!
5 tips to get your kid to do their homework:
Structure! Structure! Structure! Structure! Structure!
It’s no secret that not all students do their homework on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the students with the lowest homework grades are often the students who need the extra practice the most. Why should parents get involved? Homework offers an opportunity for these struggling students to learn discipline and effective study habits. Both are important life skills that will translate to success later on in life.
The following tips are easy things that you can do to help your child learn the skills they need to complete their homework on a regular basis.
Set up a sterile homework space
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is probably the most effective thing a parent can do to help a child complete their homework. We live in a world teeming with distractions, and a child’s mind is prone to seek out colorful, noisy, stimulating things. Find a quiet corner in the house and clear a simple, spacious table space. Make sure that all digital devices are out of reach and all necessary tools (paper, pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, rulers, etc.) are close at hand. Depending on the situation, earplugs or even soft instrumental music (try Bach!) may be appropriate.
Set up a homework time
Routines make life easier. The brain adapts well to consistency and regularity. Find a time that works best with your family’s schedule to give your child a designated uninterrupted work time. Sometimes kids don’t work well on an empty stomach (I know I don’t). If this is the case, maybe homework can wait until after dinner. Schedule enough time for homework before a favorite show for a convenient time pressure. Make sure that it is a time the whole family can commit to. Your child needs to have uninterrupted, quiet focus time while working on homework. Making this a priority will communicate to your child that their homework is important.
Obtain effective resources
Parents, in the eyes of their children, are infinite sources of wisdom with the mystical ability to solve any problem. This is how it should be. Homework can put strain on this perception. As a middle school math teacher, I often hear parents complain that, for the first time, they are unable to help their kids with their math homework. My response? “You shouldn’t have to.” Teachers know that not every student will know the answer to every question. The point is to force students to apply what they learned or generate questions to address confusion or misconceptions they encounter. In our class, homework is graded for effort, not correctness.
Chances are the teacher has provided resources to help students if they struggle with their homework. Maybe the student took notes, has a textbook, or sample classwork buried somewhere in their backpack. Some teachers even recommend resource websites with step-by-step video tutorials. Encourage your child to search for clues before sitting down to walk them through their homework.
Set up a homework carrying system
As a teacher, while collecting homework, I am met with chorus of either A) “I forgot to do it” or B) “I lost it”. Luckily, I have a solution for each of these pesky problems!
A) Get a daily planner where your child can write their daily homework assignments in one designated place. If they come home mumbling, “I don’t have any homework!” you can ask to see their planner to verify, no fighting or fussing involved.
B) Get a homework folder, where all assignments are put into one easy to access folder. It also makes it easier for your child to see progress, as the stack of homework slowly decreases after each assignment. Just please don’t lose this folder!
Reward a job well done!
Everyone works harder when they have something to look forward to. For your child, maybe it’s dessert, a video game or even a favorite TV show. The most important thing is that the reward is
1) something the child wants,
2) something they cannot access on their own, and
3) something that is only earned when homework is complete.
That means that if homework is not done, no reward.
What are your top tips for getting homework done? Share in the comments below!