Homework Wars: How to Make Homework Easier on You and Your Child
School has been in session a few weeks now, and the newness of the school year has started to wear off. Now the battle begins. The age-old war between children and parents over the issue of homework. As a parent, you know that homework is important not only to your child's grades but to their ability to learn and remember as well.
However, your child has been in a classroom all day and now is ready to play, not do homework. How can you as a parent, get your child to do homework with out a daily battle?
Face it, you can't. At least not until you make a plan and stick with it. Your attitude towards homework will directly affect the attitude of your child. You need to take charge and set up a routine that will make the entire process easier for both your child and yourself.
Give Them a Break
When your child first gets home from school, give them a short break. Let them put away their things and have a small snack. Talk about their school day.
With young children you might even want to include a half an hour or so of play time so that they can burn off a bit of energy before settling down to tackle homework. Just as we need short breaks in our work day, so do children.
Set a Study and Homework Time and Adhere to it Daily
By actually setting an amount of time you expect your child to be involved in homework daily, you will be avoiding a lot of homework problems. When your child realizes he will be spending an hour at home each night studying regardless of whether he has hom work or not, he will accept the idea that learning is important.
When there is no homework, make up math problems or assign reading to your child. Check their work to make sure they are doing the review or home assignment. When children know they will be doing studying, whether or not they have homework, they will be less likely to leave assigned work at school. Children learn pretty quickly that if they have to study, it might as well be doing their actual assignments than whatever mom or dad thinks up.
Follow up on this by contacting your child's teacher or teachers and checking to make sure all work has been turned in. If your child is missing work, get the assignment from the teacher. Even if it is too late for your child to get credit for assignment, making sure he does it will not only help him understand the material for test time, but will give him the message that he might as well turn in assignments on time as he will be doing them anyway.
Put Homework before Sports and Socialization
If you see your child is too involved with sports and practice to complete his homework on time, don't let him participate in practice until he is caught up and shows that he can handle both his school work and being active in sports.
This won't make you very popular with your child's coaches, but it will send your child the message of which is more important and encourage him to accomplish his assignments.
The same holds true of all extra curricular activities: homework first, friends and clubs second.
Just as we like to be rewarded for doing a good job, so do our children. When they have completed their homework without complaint for a certain length of time, then offer them a reward.
For elementary children, staying up late 15 extra minutes, or letting them choose a movie to watch on the weekend might be just the thing to get them to complete their tasks.
Older children like rewards like an extended curfew, or being able to have a friend over to spend the night.
Never offer to buy them something as a reward. This is too much like bribery and teaches children that they can then use certain behaviors to get things they want.
Following these simple steps may not completely end the homework wars, but it will make the battles less lengthy and fearsome, and in the end your child will win and so will you.