Trying to encourage, cajole, and eventually threaten your child into doing their homework can be a trying experience. It can be frustrating that something that seems as basic as homework has to be contested night after night. However, there are some practices you can put in place in your house that will help finally obtain a peace treaty with the beleaguered other party- your child.
1. Make sure you have a consistent time and place where your child is expected to do his homework. This might seem obvious, but it's amazing how many parents know they should do this-but don't. Doing so sets the expectation that homework is important enough to require a designated space.
Make sure it is a place relatively free from distraction. Keep in mind, however, that some extroverts need to be around people in order to get work done.
Other children insist they need to hear music in order to concentrate. If in doubt, you can always give your child a trial period, where you allow her to work under certain conditions as long as the quantity and quality of her homework make the grade. Be very clear at the start how long that trial period will last, and be specific what sort of grades you expect to see.
2. Keep a separate set of supplies near the homework area. This is another obvious one, but some parents for some reason resist on principle. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time if you make sure your child has that extra set of materials. Not only is it more convenient, but it also decreases the chance of things getting lost or forgotten at home due to being pulled out of their accustomed places.
3. Help your child anticipate how much time she thinks each assignment will take. Often children will resist homework because they imagine it will take hours and hours. Briefly scan the assignment with your child, asking her to guess how much time she thinks it will take. When she completes each assignment, have her write down the time it actually took to complete, next to her estimate. Usually it is much less than the child imagined.
If it took more time than your child estimated, help them to analyze the situation in order to get a handle on why it took longer. Were there concepts that she didn't understand? Did she follow the directions exactly? Did she get distracted? All of factors can be taken into account in the future.
4. Set a timer. If your child finds it hard to sit for long stretches, set a timer to go off after a set period of time, such a 15-20 minutes. Then give your child a break. The key to this working is not to let the child leave the homework area, because then you'll be spending the next half-hour trying to round them up again.
If your child would like to choose this option (and stress that it is a choice), then they can have the break in their homework area. It' s also preferable to make it a cardio break: encourage your child to do a bit of intense exercise, enough to get them breathing a little bit faster. This can be a great help in getting rid of the tension that sometimes builds up when we have to do something we don't like to do.
5. Make sure your child is actually capable of doing the homework. Sometimes a child will resist homework in a particular class because the homework is really not a review; the material is new, and the teacher expects the parent to teach the child concepts barely covered in class.
If this seems like it might be the case with your child, speak with the other parents in the class in order to confirm your suspicion. If you are correct, you can try bringing it up to the teacher in a non- confrontational manner. It could be she is being pressured to cover a lot of ground. If this is the case, however, this is due to administrative policy, and you may need to get together with other parents in order to tackle the issue.
The other possibility is that your child might have unrevealed learning differences. Don't assume that just because your child has done well in the pastmeans that he can't be having difficulty now . As your child passes through school, the skills required deepen or change. New vocabulary, an ability to synthesize new information, increased memory demands-all can be the downfall of a previously successful child.
If in sitting down with your child you see that your child really cannot understand or finds it difficult to remember the material, then an evaluation might be the key to helping your child.