Now kids are back to school, let’s get to something we all (parents) worry about: homework. Many times, we feel we are fully responsible for how our kids do in school. And we tend to think controlling how and when they do their homework is the easiest way to track (and hopefully improve) their academic performance, but it certainly is not the most efficient one.
The rule is kids don’t like homework. I mean, did you like having to sit at your desk every evening, staring at your books and notebooks, brain burning, after having spent aaaaaaall day at school? Probably not. Always keep that in mind.
So, here go some tips we hope you find useful if your kid is
a normal child not the biggest fan of homework:
1. Set an example
If your kid is used to seeing you read and write, and you dedicate a special part of the house / some time every day to doing cultural stuff, it won’t be hard for your kid to develop a love for study.
2. Create a routine and set some bases
If they know that the first thing they are going to do when they get back from school is having a snack and doing their homework, they won’t have much time to disconnect from the school mindset, which is kind of positive here! In addition, it’s great if you set some bases (and stick to them):
- Homework is done every day at the same time (like right after they get from school, or after dinner) –no games until it’s not finished!
- It has to be done in a common area (living room or kitchen)
- TV and phone (if they have one) can’t be on
- If their marks drop, there will be consequences –it sounds pretty dark, but you know what we mean –.
3. Be vocal about what they did well
We are not huge fans of rewarding kids for doing their homework. We mean, that’s their duty, right? Letting them watch TV or buying them that game they want so badly if they do their homework might be useful in the short-term, but definitely not the best way to make them fall in love with learning.
However, we think it’s great to tell them when they do things properly. Many times, it seems like we are always vocal about what they do wrong, but we forget the positive stuff. Let’s change that! For example, you can tell them how fast they finished today, or how beautiful their handwriting looks!
4. Boost their confidence
If you see your kid staring at their notebook, not knowing what to write. Or if getting them to sit down and get things done becomes a nightmare. If you hear the words “I’m stuck” more often than not , maybe we are facing a fear of failure issue rather than mere laziness. Let them know you’ll love them no matter what and that you are there to help if they need it. Which takes us to the next point…
5. Help them if necessary
It’s not like you have to do their homework for them, but sometimes it is good to sit down with them and help them out, specially with the subjects they struggle with the most. Make it clear for them that no question is stupid, and that asking is the best way of learning.
Even if they don’t ask for help, ask them how everything is going or if they need help regularly. And, when they finish, offer to review their homework and point out what they got wrong (but not how to do it); that way, they will be able to re-do it and understand a lot better what they are doing.
6. Let them feel in charge
If you turn homework into a war about who’s in control, it might backfire. Kids are proud, so they might stop doing their homework, or do poorly just to prove they’re in charge. So, instead of fighting for power, let them make their own choices. Always letting them know their acts are going to have consequences (good or bad).
7. Don’t load them with activities
French, football, tennis, piano, swimming, drama, ballet, judo… If you load your kid with extracurricular activities, they will be exhausted when they get home, so getting them to focus on their homework might be asking for a bit too much. A couple of activities (maximum) is fine, but remember they need to do their homework, have dinner, have some free time every day to relax and disconnect and sleep –quite a bit –.
8. Don’t call it homework
It might sound stupid, but calling it “homework” might make too specific. Instead, why don’t you call it “study time”? By doing this, you will prevent your kid from using the classic “I don’t have homework” excuse. They might not have homework, but that doesn’t mean they can skip reading through what they learned that day in class.
Letting them play educational apps, like “Kokoro Kids” (available on Android and on iOS) when they don’t have actual homework might be a great way to make them enjoy their study time.
Sooo… this is it! We hope you find these tips helpful! And, remember, teachers and tutors are always there to help, don’t hesitate to talk to them to know what might be keeping your kid from doing their homework!