Whether you are a busy working mum or just a busy mum, the kids homework can be something which becomes part of your to Do List or at least the Make Them Do It List.
So with that in mind – here are some tips on how to motivate the kids to do their homework, without eating into your own time and creating unnecessary stress along the way.
Children and Homework
Children hate doing homework and we parents often feel under pressure to make sure the homework gets done. The result is often conflict.
Well you know the old saying, you can force a horse to water but you can not make it drink. Well that really does apply to homework. Forcing kids to do their homework really does not work. Nor do bribes or threats. Homework then becomes a power game and that really is not good.
The thing to try and take on board is that if they don’t do it, it is their problem and their responsibility not yours.
OK, I know that’s difficult, and yes worst case scenario you may have a lecture from the teacher in question. But hopefully after you have read this you will try tackling the homework issues in a different way which will resolve the problem.
Once you have managed to let go of your child’s homework being your problem rather than his, a huge cloud will lift from your shoulders. I promise homework will no longer be a source of conflict.
So you are probably wondering how can you help?
Develop a simple routine around doing homework and then stick to it.
Doing homework at the same time every day makes life easier for everyone. But it is important that the children have some say in when this is.
When I was at school I used to do my homework as soon as I got home, and then it was out of the way. However when I suggested this to my kids, I was faced with rebellion. They wanted some downtime.
So negotiate and get agreement on a time they will settle down to do their homework. This maybe before dinner, after dinner or even early the following morning.
Having a five minute warning that it is “homework time” can act as a prompt, and with younger children giving them a hand to unpack their books and get organised will help them settle down.
Create a comfortable place to do homework.
This maybe a desk in their bedroom, a kitchen table, or the corner of the lounge. Again it is good to listen and discuss where they are likely to feel most comfortable studying.
As my own children grew up, the places they studied changed, depending on the subjects and their moods. Lying on the floor in the lounge was favoured by one daughter from time to time. She said she got lonely sitting in a room by herself. And I can understand that.
I did wonder sometimes about the quality of the homework she was producing – but the teachers never questioned it and as a good friend pointed out, in a busy office or workplace perhaps being able to concentrate when other stuff is going around you is not such a bad skill to develop. And she got her homework done, happily, and in on time.
Try using the time they are doing homework to do your own chores. Turn the television off and avoid having rowdy games with younger children and other stuff which is likely to be distracting
If they are stuck on their homework
Don’t be tempted to do it for them.
Suggest they take a five minute break and read the questions through again.
Ask them what they think could be the answer or where might they be able to find the answer.
What further information would help them. Then leave them to it and get on with your own chores.
I should just add, if your child really does not understand the homework or is spending far too long on it, that is a different problem and you or your child may need to have a chat with the teacher.
Some children find it difficult to prioritise and manage their time effectively. Make yourself available to help them discuss these concerns.
This may mean helping them create some simple organisational systems. Creating To Do Lists, having study agendas that they follow and using a diary to track tasks by due dates and their priority.
Praise, goes along way.
Rather than moaning they have not done their homework, praise them for having the self discipline to get on with their homework. Make sure you are seen to be taking an interest in their homework – not checking up on it.
Try the following consistenly for a few weeks and the kids homework won’t be an item on your To Do List. Good Luck.