Most parents have been there—the nightly homework struggle.
Students rarely look forward to completing their homework assignments after the last school bell has rung for the day. However, homework is part of being a student—and one that has an impact on future academic performance. This makes it important to figure out how to encourage kids to do their homework without a nightly quarrel.
The Importance of Homework
Homework supplements the education that children are getting in the classroom. Its role is to increase comprehension and give students the chance to study, practice, and understand the material. This type of “outside-the-classroom” thinking can help increase the development of positive study habits, improve cognition and memory, and encourage time management.
So, why the resistance?
Students often have trouble seeing the value in homework. After all, they just spent an entire day in school, so why should they sacrifice their valuable free time to do more work? Other factors, from attention and motivation issues to poor time management and organizational skills can also lead to students having trouble completing their homework.
How to motivate kids to do homework
Students who don’t do their homework or continually battle with their parents about it often experience higher levels of stress. This stress can lead to a lack of motivation both inside and outside of the classroom, causing them to fall behind. It’s important for parents to take an active role in making sure students complete their homework so their performance doesn’t suffer.
How can you make homework time a smoother process? Rather than making your child do homework, focus on how you can make homework more a more enjoyable experience for your child. Don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds!
Follow these tips on how encourage good homework habits in your child.
Give kids a break after school
Lead by example
Talk about the benefits
Creating a schedule your child can follow makes it easier to get him or her to sit down and complete homework assignments. Set a time and create a special study space for homework to be completed, making it part of the child’s nightly routine.
Don’t force your child to do homework as soon as he or she gets home. Let him or her have some time after school to give his or her mind a break before starting homework. This break can help improve motivation and focus when it is time for your child to do his or her homework.
Show encouragement and appreciation of your child’s hard work when he or she has completed his or her homework. Something as small as a high five or words of praise can boost your child’s motivation. You can also offer small rewards, like a trip to the store or a special treat.
While you child does his or her homework, don’t engage in other preferred activities, such as watching TV. Read a book, do some research, or scratch a chore off your to-do list.
Rather than yelling, have a calm discussion with your child about why homework is important. Fighting with your child will increase stress and frustration, leaving him or her unable and unwilling to focus on homework.
No More Homework Arguments!
By encouraging—rather than forcing—your child to complete his or her homework, you can help your child become a more organized, proactive student. This will save you a lot of arguments down the line, letting your child use his or her energy to reach his or her potential rather than avoiding homework.
The Homework Struggle: How to Encourage Kids to Do Homework
Sep 21, 2017•Homework
- Put the hardest homework at the top of your list. Why? Well, this allows you to kick it up a notch! You can start, move on, and then continue re-thinking it (starting gives it a place in the "depths" of your mind -- an inventive part of your mind) and then going back to it, to do more, so you won't get too bogged down, but it will have priority for the subconscious mind to work on it! See, you don't have to get stuck in that problem -- that might take all of your time:
Do a quick effort; make it a worthwhile try, then go onward to less demanding homework. Later, going back -- and seeing how you can improve the first one with fresh bits and pieces.
Open "secret back-channels" -- just starting, even if you have to come back to finish, gets your creativity to kick in (this gets dark recesses of your mind to really work for you!). Creative juices can be inspiring, refreshing, helpful!
Break it down. Make piecework; quickly overview the topic: scan!
~ Read headings, intro, maps, charts, pictures, captions, bold or italic lettering, footnotes, and chapter summaries to get ideas and perspectives/angles for ideas to start yourself thinking.
~ Begin your answer to each problem and essay question, by doing parts! How? Make a first sentence or step, do any logical, little bits and bites (go step-by-step).
~ Add a second thought/step and another -- each flowing from the previous one. Going one phrase or sentence at a time makes it possible to write or do something.
~ Skip some lines, to leave room to fill in later -- if you need to move on to another area.
To re-kick-start an answer: Read what you have already written/or have done to check it, and see what flows from there', to lead your thinking to your next thought/step, and so on.
- Take advantage of any holidays or vacations that may be coming near as a motivator. On a Thursday, remind yourself that it is almost the weekend, and the moment this homework assignment is done you'll be one moment closer. Remember that Thanksgiving, winter break, or summer break is nearing, and the moment your homework is done you can enjoy it to its fullest.
- Think of it this way: if you procrastinate, you're spending time worrying about the task in addition to the time you actually do it. If you just take action and complete it as soon as you think of it, then you'll have more time to relax.
Work smarter, not harder. A fried brain absorbs little information. Break up your homework time into chunks. Take regular breaks. Set a timer; take a five to ten minute break for each hour you study. Get up, stretch, and move around. Drink water and eat a little fruit: water will refresh your system, and half an apple provides a better effect than a sugary energy drink.
Think of the consequences. What will happen, if you don't do your homework? Will you get a bad grade? Will your teacher be disappointed in you? If none of these things seem to apply to you, remember that homework is to help you learn, which everyone ultimately wants. In the real world, knowledge helps you master the rules of the game.
Think of the benefits. What will happen, if you do your homework? You'll probably get a good grade. Your teacher will appreciate your efforts. You have learned a great deal, and you'd be paving your way for a better life simply by putting your pencil to paper! Putting yourself in a positive state will reap in the benefits and ultimately surge you with the energy and hope to focus back on your work, and even enjoy what you're doing!
Find a place with less distraction. Set up your special study place. No friends, television, or other potential distractions should be present. Your homework place should also have a hard surface, like a table, to write on. If you need to do some of your homework on a computer, as many high school students do, make sure to avoid chat programs, unrelated websites, etc. If you have difficulty keeping focused, or awake, consider doing your homework at the library, at a table with some amount of foot traffic passing by it. The quiet atmosphere will help you focus, the surrounding mild activity will help keep you from falling asleep, and if you get stuck, there are those helpful librarians and references.
- Don't go on a cleaning binge as a way to procrastinate. Focus only on where you'll be working, and leave it at that.
Find a homework partner. Make sure this person isn't one of your crazy friends who'll distract you. Find someone to sit with who is quiet and focused. This will help you feel comfortable working, because someone else is working along with you. Just be sure not to end up talking more than working.
Create your own learning method. Everybody learns at their own pace and uses different methods to help memorize the material. Some find walking helpful, while others like to listen to music while they study. Whatever it is, experiment until you find something that seems to work well for you.
Listen to some quiet music (optional). Listening to music and studying does not work for everyone. If you are going to listen to music, try to listen to classical music or instrumental songs. Or if classical isn't for you, just pick quiet songs that you don't know, and start working, so you don't get caught up in the words.
Exercise briefly during each study break. It will help relieve tension, clear your mind, help you focus and make you feel awake. For example, walk around, stretch, do jumping jacks, or jog in place.
Make a routine. A routine will get you into doing homework as a habit. Schedule times and days so you are totally organized as to what you're doing this week, the next, and even the week afterwards. Surprises will occur, but at the very least, you know what you're doing!
- Put your phone, computer, and anything else that might distract you far from your reach. Then stay in a quiet room where you know you won't get distracted. Keep a timer for every 30 minutes to an hour, so you know how long you've been working and can still keep track of time.
Prioritize. Divide your homework according to your ability in the subject. If you're not so good, do it first. If it's an easy assignment, take a break and do it in 15 minutes or so, then get working again! If it's a long-term project, do it last. Not that it's not as important, but you need to save your time for the things with near-due-dates.
Get some success: you might prefer to get one or two easy tasks over-with at the start of a homework session, saving the hard stuff for last. Diving right into the hard stuff can be discouraging, and studies show that many people learn well when they start with easier material and work up to the harder stuff. Getting a few easy tasks done quickly can remind you of how good it feels to be productive. Some people, however are more motivated to dig into the hardest stuff first. It will make the rest seem like a breeze. Find out what works best for you.
Use simpler problems to find the steps to do harder solutions. Most problems can be broken down into simpler problems. That's a key to try on most math and science work and exams.
So what are you waiting for, get to your homework!!