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Getting Children to Do Their Homework Through a Reward System

by Laura Roberts

Do you feel like you are attempting to reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to coax your child through his homework? Change the atmosphere with small goals and rewards that will train him about the benefit of hard work. By setting short-term, manageable objectives, you can guide your child toward the satisfaction of becoming self-sufficient while gaining back your own sanity.

Sticker Chart

Involve your child in designing and decorating a homework chart, either on card stock or on a downloadable online chart. Look over her weekly schedule of classes, and have her add those classes to the left rows with the days of the week above the columns. Create extra copies of the homework chart or make it reusable by covering it with contact paper and using dry erase markers. Each day, let your child put check marks or star stickers into the chart. If she receives a certain number of checks or stars by the end of the week, she can pick out a sticker reward.

Star Store

Create a “star store” with more tangible rewards for your child to work toward by offering various items from a dollar store. Assign prices to each item, making some cheap enough to earn in one week and a few larger items to work toward over time. To implement a “star store” strategy, start with the basic premise of the chart. On Saturday, your child can add up the star stickers he received that week and use them to “buy” something at the star store, or he can save them up for a larger toy.

Timer Wars

If your child is easily distracted while doing his homework, teach her about efficiency and persistence. Pick out a timer together and show your child how to set it. Talk through how long a certain subject should take her, and motivate her to beat the timer. As she gains consistency in beating the timer, she will gain confidence in meeting her goals.

Points Plan

Do you hesitate to offer more small toys to clutter up the playroom? Add the incentive of a special outing for homework points earned. Assign a set number of points possible to earn each week, and keep track of them together on the calendar. Create a list of outings with “points prices” attached, such as picnicking in the park or going out for ice cream. If your child is old enough to begin to make long-term goals, assign a more exciting outing as a reward at the end of a quarter or semester if he has made overall improvement in completing homework efficiently and with a good attitude. Keep the weekly calendars until the end of the quarter for a tangible measurement of improvement.

About the Author

As a literature and grammar teacher, Laura Roberts began editing in 2002, gradually expanding her nonfiction writing to include new curriculum units. In 2008, Roberts began publishing her “Ask the Savvy Bride” column connected with her e-commerce wedding store. She holds a bachelor's in English education from Robert Morris University.

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