Spell homework and you might just have stirred the hornet’s nest. This is the single most deadly, never ending battle fought virtually every night between hapless parents and their headstrong or even dillydally kids. To make things worse it becomes a pattern and some kids even resort to procrastination and blatant lying about homework.
Take the case of single mom Laurel Wilson, mother of eight year old daughter. “My daughter is fairly bright but lazy. Whenever I ask her if she has got any homework for the weekend, all I get is a pale face and endless efforts of putting away her assignments. Father of ten year old James, Ryan Peterson is finding the going getting only tougher. “Jimmy’s averse to math and I know that but I certainly did not expect him to snap at me and go far as hiding his books in store room so he can get away with doing homework!”
So what makes homework a word that kids loathe so much and why does it have so much drama involved? Child care expert Dr. Rachel Jones has a reply she found after years of observation. “Young kids have impressionable and tender minds that interpret homework and studies as drudgery and an activity that would deprive them of their fun time no matter how well or bad they do. Parents too are to be blamed partially for projecting homework as an activity to comply with rather than making it constructive work for kids’ self growth.
Now what are the best ways to get your kids do homework without all the drama? Believe it or not some are so simple that one is sure to give it a miss.
Going back to school-
It’s not exactly going back to school per se. You need to talk to the teacher to know your child’s progress. Since homework is provided in school, teacher will be the first person to know how your kids react to it. Also occasional visit to school will let you know if there was homework or no homework given!
Sort it out-
Now that the status of homework is known, here comes the most important thing to do. Asking your child exactly why they hate homework. Is it just pure dislike to do some extra study? Or is it the failure to understand subject. The quicker this is known, the easier this process of doing homework becomes.
Propose, don’t impose-
Next step is a trick that you need to hone. Try and convince your kid to do homework and if they are done, they may well be allowed to go playing or enjoy their favorite video game. This may sound like you kid is traded for or an investment which may have desired returns but hey it still counts, right? Who knows it can make kids enthusiastic about assignments in near future.
Some reward and award-
And this can be, rather should presented to the child each time they take one step forward. Words of encouragement can work like magic for a child as it can charge them with confidence and will power. Agrees Ruby, mother of eight year old Adrian. “He solved one question and got the answer right. I was really happy and lauded him for his effort. He moved to the next question like he knew the answer beforehand. He failed to solve the next one but what was truly amazing to see was how quickly kids rev up just by few words of encouragement.
Give me a break-
This is probably what you say to yourself every time kids want some break to freshen up (or basically to kill time), don’t you? Well the trick here is to act smart instead of getting pissed. Kids too want some time to cool off the exhaustion caused by already demanding homework schedule. A couple of breaks for around ten minutes or so are of no harm as long as it is not spent on the couch watching TV. Scientifically speaking, physical exercise should be chosen over being couch potato as the former helps in brain chemical’s release that helps in rejuvenating power of concentration. So if they want some, give them some!
Eliminate the habit to procrastinate
Once limited only to teens, kids too have become adept at procrastination. They will find more ways than one can think of to delay doing homework. Therefore what is best to do is stop it right from start. So next time, get yourself ready with all things i.e. all essentials like books, pencils etc so they find an excuse to look for them and never come back. For once you have to stop falling for that pity seeking face or that classic “I will do it later”. It is pretty much possible, not by being strict but by sweetening their deal.
Tell them that they shall be aptly rewarded by gifts of their choice once homework is complete or even get few extra minutes to watch TV. One more thing procrastination also gets generated by fear of failure to do things. Let your kid understand it is no crime failing to get desired results while doing things. It’s actually failure to things that is unacceptable. Not wanting to do homework is also one of many causes that eventually make individual isolated and seeking happiness in something less productive. Good grades are good but not if achieved by constant pressure and nagging.
Homework is also a drama that unfolds almost on a daily basis and requires each and every character to play their part and in some cases it could be siblings too.
Role of siblings- what siblings bring to the table?
For starters they could be one who comes in handy to admonish younger of the two siblings. Two they are familiar individuals to give company and help the young one out to finish an assignment. They can also double up as source of motivation and support.
Parents, of course the ball is in your court
You are getting it wrong, no one’s yapping. It is given that you cannot get kids do homework without making sacrifices at individual levels. Yes you already have but now all you got to do is:
1. Avoid any activities of recreation such as watching TV, going out or even chatting in the living. As told before kids have impressionable mind. Don’t let them be under the “impression” that they are being sidelined from fun activities. And hey it’s distracting too while doing something as important as homework. How about reading newspaper or magazine?
2. Stand by them while the kids are on the job. It is not necessary to devote fully to entire solving and understanding part. What is needed is your presence and absence of it another reason for distraction and fickle mindedness among kids.
3. Stop formulating and imposing draconian laws like ordering kids to complete their homework in your given time frame. It does more harm than good. Some kids may absorb but most would succumb to it.
4. Prepare yourself for not so good results as well. Not every time you will see kids doing fine with their homework. There are some tough lessons to study. So lesson for parents is to see if syllabus is well under their control or whether it is time to involve an expert, a tutor may be.
5. Go for change in location as far as study area is concerned. And this becomes a deciding factor especially if the kids are too young. Room without toys to play will save some time and energy that could be used for doing homework. Oh yes, for relatively big kids’ group, computers and other gadgets laden with social media apps should be kept at a distance.
6. Let your loved one start with a subject they love or at least show some interest in. It could build tempo for going about other subject’s assignments and can provide some lead.
7. Check if time pattern is what promotes or demotes your kids’ enthusiasm level about homework. Often it has been noticed some like to get started with their homework right at the drop of a hat and some do it later. Doing later does not mean never.
8. You have to take completion of homework as seriously as homework itself. There is no point in having all the hard work done that was not timely.
9. Chalk out one schedule which is followed religiously for making kid do their homework without drama. It could be having fun and playing games first or vice versa.
You must read this for more details: 10 Ways to Help Your Kids with Their Assignment
Be realistic and supportive-
By all means and in all respects. Every child is special, as is yours. Stop comparing their levels of intellect with other kids, stop hurling comments as damaging as them being dunce. Cent percent success in getting assignments done and approved is always desirable but being close to it not small an achievement either. For it is your kids who did their bit.