The pressure of making sure your child does well in their class gets to most parents. I’m not saying that as a parent you may be competitive. What I am saying is that as parents you want to make sure that your child does not fall back on class work and understands what is being taught in class. Even though our children have increasing amount of workloads at school, we know as parents, that there isn’t much time off academically when they get home. This may be the very reason your child makes a fuss over doing his homework or studies at home.
In most households, homework time is a battle front with either the mum yelling or the child dragging their simple half hour work into long long hours. It’s not easy and becomes a power play. You as a parent want your child to listen to you and be done with the homework and somehow your child holds all the power and is able to drag it on and not do as told. This equation is if not anything else, very dangerous and over time can damage the mother and child relationship. I remember what one of the ladies mentioned to me during on our ‘Mum Interviews’, she told me, I am no longer a mum to my child, during the little hours of the day she spends with me, I am a teacher. I don’t want that to be my relationship with her, I want to be her Mum. That is the stark reality of parenting these days in an educational system that seems to demand more and more out of our children.
Most of us feel sorry for the amount of work our children face these days academically. Miss one day of school and the catch up work is such a load that you feel sorry for these kids. It’s hardly a wonder that they don’t like sitting down for more work after a long and heavy day at school. Nevertheless, it is a must. Your school may have homework issued, or there may be missed work that needs finishing up and of course some schools have weekly if not monthly tests which mean you always have to be on ‘top of the game’.
If your child hates sitting down for homework and you approach homework time wearily because you know that your child is not going to sit down and get the homework done productively, instead will do it in a careless, distracted, sloppy or without effort, you are bound to day after day start homework time by nagging, threatening and yelling. These are extremely negative and in younger children they may end up hating academics as they grow older.
Here are some things you may try out to get your kids to do their homework:
- Don’t start on the homework straight away: If your child takes hours to finish doing his studies at home, you may be tempted to start work right after coming home. Don’t! Once he’s back home from school, let him have some time to relax, take a wash and do some sort of activity. This maybe a play with his toys, read a book, colour or some screen time. What’s important is that he decides what he does. Not you!
- Schedule some after school activities: kids nowadays are so stressed. Most of them are running from one academic class to another even after school. If your child is going to support classes such as Math, Speech & Drama, English classes etc, you may want to schedule in some non academic classes that include sports, music or art & craft.
- Make a time table: This may seem like a small thing that would not make many changes but it will. The purpose of the timetable is to show your child that you have allocated time for him to do his homework and also have fun after school. Explain to him that if he takes time doing his work, exceeds his time or does his work carelessly and he has to redo, he simply will not have time to do other fun stuff. It is also important to stick to the timetable and not let him stay up late as result of getting late to finish his homework. Let him understand that there is a time for everything and not finishing his homework on time means he will not be able to have fun later on.
- Talk to your child: Communication is very important. If you explain to your child that homework is a must and that he should put his whole heart into it and finish it, there could be a positive change. Before homework time starts, remind him about the chat you had already had. Always be friendly, use a bright and happy voice instead of a tired or ‘no nonsense’ voice.
- Identify triggers and behaviours of your child: If you feel like your child can’t concentrate or get work done for long, you may want to break it into small sections and give breaks. Does your child get those ‘I’m-dying-of-hunger-pains’ before homework? Simple, offer him a snack before he starts. Identify such behaviour and address them so they are not causes of arguments.
- Limit distractions: If you have family watching TV at about the time your little one needs to do his homework, you may want to either move his work spot to some other place or ask your family members not to watch TV during this time.
- Have reasonable expectations: Work load nowadays are enormous. You have Year 3 children doing the complete multiplication tables! That does not mean your child is an adult. Most children find it difficult to concentrate for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. If you find that you have more work than 30 minutes, do give a break. In addition, most international educators agree that children in first through third grades should be doing ten to 30 minutes of homework (the rule of thumb is ten minutes per grade, per night). While those in the twelfth grade may devote two hours on homework. High school students may sometimes do even more, depending on what classes they take.
- Identify your triggers: As much as identifying behaviour patterns of your child when he’s doing his homework is important, identify yours too. If you feel like you get agitated watching him play with eraser for too long, go make yourself a cup of tea. Are you tight time wise? Do you feel like there’s a lot to do and homework time is a time that you can do something else instead of sitting down and convincing your child to work? Then multitask. Get your pot of pasta on or check those emails while homework is on.
- Speak to the class teacher: If you feel like there’s simply too much of homework, speak to the class teacher. Every child has his own pace and standard of learning and if you feel like it’s simply too much, try to get the school involved in part of the solution.
- Give him off days: Yes everyone needs their time away from work. So whether you decide to give your child off work once a week or the entire school holidays, do make sure that your child has some time off.
- Come up with creative ways to study: Not every child is a sit down and write kind of person. Some need more creative and hands on approach to studying. If your child needs a more creative approach, get creative. There are also very good supplementary work books that include cartoon characters that may get young ones excited to start studying.
- Incentivize: Yes that too is needed. Try not to include things like new toys if he studies. It could be something like, get your work done fast and we can play a round of UNO.
Homework time can be hassle free. It should not be a battle field. Simply have realistic age appropriate expectations identify all possible triggers and deal with situations instead of nagging and yelling. Also remember, your child has his own personality and that there may be days, just like you that he feels tired mentally. If you take time to understand and be patient, homework hassles are a thing of the past!