Homework and children can be a tough combination. It’s like pulling teeth while herding cats — or maybe even pulling a cat’s tooth. You might want to avoid getting involved at all costs, but you shouldn't. If you do your own homework you'll find that parental involvement helps the child be a more successful student.
So keep at it! We've got your back with these seven painless strategies to help your child get their homework done:
1. Praise your child’s efforts
Be specific and frequent in praising your child’s academic efforts. Create a positive environment around homework. Incorporating positive feedback can result in a happier student ... which means a happier child.
When giving feedback, be specific as well. Never use generalities such as “always” or “never."
2. Connect the classroom with real life
Real-life applications of classroom lessons can help your child learn more effectively and even enjoy it. Take her outside to observe the world around her, like a scientist would. Take him shopping to learn about how to budget money. Tie in the news -- when age-appropriate -- with historic events and issues, such as poverty and racism.
3. Take breaks
Not everyone can Mary Poppins their way into making homework fun, but try timing your child for 20 minutes, then let her take a break for five.
If that doesn’t work, you can also try having your child take breaks after specific points in time. For example, do five math problems and then allow her to take a five-minute break. These breaks can help your child focus and recharge.
4. Minimize distractions
Find an area in the house you can turn into your child's study spot. Clear the area of any potential distractions. Let him take ownership of the spot by personalizing it. If your child is fidgety, consider a balance ball desk chair, which allows them to move, even while sitting at a desk.
5. Get organized
In addition to finding a quiet place, help your child get organized with homework.
It might help to have a simple planner for your child to write down assignments in. Give her a “done” homework folder that she can put her completed homework in so she feels a sense of accomplishment.
If your child has a tendency to forget homework, work with the teacher to make sure she gets the assignment.
6. Do it at the same time every day
Routines can make all the difference in productivity. Scheduling a specific time to do homework creates good habits. Sit down with your child at the designated homework times to review their homework, making sure he understands the assignment and also figure out which assignments he needs help completing.
Some children can do homework immediately after coming home from school, while others need a break and a snack before refocusing. Figure out what schedule works best for your child.
7. Offer rewards!
Help your child see the consequences of their actions -- both good and bad. Incentivize her with rewards, like being able to go outside to play, or a set amount of electronics time once homework is completed. Simple rewards can be great motivation for completing homework.
We know homework time isn't always easy, but a few smart strategies can go a long way in helping your child succeed in school!
Laura Pearson is the founder of Edutude, a website that strives to find unique, creative ways for parents and educators to encourage students to be challenged, motivated and excited by learning.
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