If you're tired of your child's protests and temper tantrums when it's time to do homework, you're not alone. Many parents dread homework time because they don't want to deal with their child's bad attitude and poor behavior. Don't resign yourself to years of these homework battles. Instead, change the way you approach homework with your child, and he'll likely change his attitude, too.
Special Homework Station
Set up a homework station in your home. That not only sends the message that homework is important, but it also provides your child with a space of his own to get his work done, according to Scholastic.com. Put a small desk or table in the space and stock it with all the homework essentials, including pencils, pens, erasers, a calculator, paper, crayons, colored pencils, scissors and glue. Add a comfortable chair, too. Consider making the space even more special by hanging bulletin boards to showcase your child's best homework grades. Just before your child heads to his homework station, place a glass of cool water and a healthy snack on his desk to keep him energized while he learns.
Most children can be enticed to do unpleasant activities with the promise of a reward. The right kind of reward is crucial, however. You don't want to give your child a prize for doing her homework because that's expected and she has to do it no matter what. Instead, you should reward her behavior. Perhaps you give her a sticker for each afternoon that she does her homework without whining, complaining or throwing a temper tantrum. Once she gets a certain number of stickers, she can trade them in for a prize such as a new book or a package of fancy pencils. You might also withhold computer or TV time as an incentive for your child to get her homework done quickly.
Sit With Your Child
Set a good example, recommends the U.S. Department of Education. Sit near your child while he's doing his homework and fill out paperwork or pay your bills. You might also catch up on emails or write a letter to a friend. You might even go so far as to call it your homework. This way you and your child are working together and the fact that he's not the only one doing homework can help him adjust his attitude. Furthermore, when you're modeling how you sit down, concentrate and get straight to work, you're teaching your child how to approach his homework more appropriately.
Nothing says that homework has to be unpleasant. Most afternoons, ask your child to go to her homework station, but every once in a while change her homework routine to make it more entertaining. Invite a few of her friends over so they can all study together. Let your child listen to music while she does her homework or give her a special snack halfway through. Encourage her to take a break to do a few jumping jacks or situps as another way to make homework time less boring. Be positive and don't be tempted to yell, scream or rage when homework time isn't calm, quiet and pleasant. According to a 2011 article at U.S. News & World Report Report, a parent's positive attitude is often all it takes to persuade a child to sit down and get her homework done without complaining.
- Scholastic.com: Homework for Kids
- Scholastic.com: Design a Kid-Friendly Workspace
- U.S. News and World Report: Parents' Positive Attitude Can Help Kids Get Homework Done
- U.S. Department of Education: Helping Your Child With Homework
- National Association of School Psychologists: Homework: A Guide for Parents
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images