If you have school-age kids, homework is an unavoidable fact of life. However, fighting with your kids to get it done doesn’t have to be. My family is living proof that you can teach your kids to do their homework without the hassle. Ever since my son was old enough to know what a pencil was, he has hated writing. He will do math all day long, but he thinks reading and writing are pointless endeavors. And yet, he does his homework everyday without even being asked. If you are tired of struggling with your kids to get homework done each night, I have some simple tips to help. Read on to learn how to avoid homework battles with your kids.
Make It a Habit
The key to getting your kids to do their homework without you having to say a word to them about it is to make it a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it will be something they do automatically without even thinking about it. We started making homework a habit for my son when he was in kindergarten. And, even though he is only in the first grade now, the homework habit has stuck with him. Once he returned to school after summer vacation, it was just another part of getting back into the school year routine. So, how do you create a homework habit in your kids?
There are two parts to creating a homework habit. These two parts work in tandem to create a predictable routine that will eventually turn into a habit. The two parts are same time and same place. Look at your family’s schedule and pick a time that will be available for homework each and every day. For you, this may be right after school or it may be in the evenings after dinner. Because my husband teaches at my son’s school, we chose to have my son do his homework after school while he is waiting on my husband to leave school. Regardless of when works best for your family, the key is to have your children sit down to do their homework at the same time each day.
The second part of creating a routine is to have your kids do their homework in the same place each day. Find a place where they will have room to work with as few distractions as possible. For us, this is in my husband’s classroom. For you, it may be the kitchen table, your home office, or even a lapdesk in the living room floor. The important thing is to establish this same time, same place routine with your children so they know what to expect.
Make It a Job
Now, you know as well as I do that it takes time to form a new habit. In fact, research shows that it takes over 2 months. So, to avoid homework battles during this habit-forming period, here are some tips to help. The first tip is to treat homework, and education as a whole, as your child’s job. Explain to your kids that while they are growing up, their jobs are to go to school. Homework is one of their job duties. To further drive home this point, treat their allowance as a paycheck. Explain to them that if you didn’t do your job, you would not get paid. Create the same expectations for them that your boss has for you: if you want to get paid an allowance, you must do your job. This has the added benefit of teaching them just how important their education really is.
When we were creating the homework habit with my son, we paid him when he did his homework without being asked. We didn’t call it a job, but we told him that for everyday that he did his homework on his own while still at school, he would earn a set amount of money. He wanted that money to buy a new video game, so it motivated him to do his homework each day without either of us telling him to do it.
Press Their Buttons
Any parent knows that you can’t make your kids do something they don’t want to do. So, you have to find a way to motivate your kids to want to do their homework. The best way to do this is to figure out what will press their motivational buttons the most. As I explained above, for my son, money was the biggest motivator. For some kids, it may be extra screen time, a later bedtime, or a play date with a friend. If you have children who are competitive, turn homework into a competition. You could do this by giving a prize to the one who finishes their homework first or by having them race the clock to get it done. Be creative. With some thought, you can find a way to press your children’s motivational buttons to get them to do their homework.
Start with a Quick Win
Once your kids are old enough to have homework in more than one subject a night, it can be frustrating for them to have several things to do, especially if one subject is difficult or will take a long time. To combat this feeling of dread, have them start with a quick win. This will help them to feel more productive and not so overwhelmed and can be a big motivator itself. So, have them to start with their favorite subject or the assignment that can be completed the fastest. It is much easier to look at that difficult task knowing it is the last one on the list rather than staring at it knowing that it is the first of many.
Shower Them with Praise
All kids crave the approval and praise of their parents. So, use this to your advantage. Shower your children with praise often during this process of creating a homework habit. Every time they finish an assignment, congratulate them. Each time they start their homework on their own, tell them how proud you are. When they do their homework without complaining, give them a hug and a smile. Let them see that they please you by getting it done. Celebrate each little step as if it were a huge achievement. This can also be huge motivator for them. Heaping lots of praise onto them will have the added benefit of turning homework into a positive experience instead of a negative one for both you and them. And this is a win for the entire family!
Homework is an inescapable part of life with school-aged kids. However, the fighting that comes with it can be avoided. The keys to avoid homework battles with your kids are to make it a habit for them and to find ways to motivate them to want to do their homework. Once you motivate them and create that habit, homework will become as automatic as waking up in the morning. At that point, the homework battles will disappear forever. Good luck conquering your homework battles!