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How to Get your Child Do Homework

Getting children to finish their homework is a daily battle for most of the parents. So what to do when your child refuses to do homework?


Well! Check out these tips to motivate your child to finish their work and reduce your daily tussle.


How great it would be that sitting on a recliner with a hot cup of tea, you check with your child, “Did you finish your homework?”


And you hear, “Yes, mom! I finished my work and I am going to study for some more time.”


Does it sound familiar to you? Then you are an exceptionally lucky one.


Otherwise, for most of us, it’s a struggle to make our little ones sit and finish their homework, and this tussle continues for years to come. Some children even refuse to do homework at all.


Reason?


Children find homework a boring and a tedious task, which they have to do out of parental compulsion.


But until and unless children enjoy learning and have intrinsic motivation, they continue to repel it. And the more you pressurize, the worse it gets.


Then the question arises, how to get a child self motivated.


Also, people like me ask, do children need homework?

Motivate child do Homework


Why children need homework:


Homework solidify concepts:


Homework is a much-needed exercise for children. It is a way to solidify the concepts children learn in the classroom, and the best way is through repetition.


For example, a student reads a text for an English test, holds on to the information, and then uses it to answer the test questions.


Helps in building executive functioning:


Research tells us that homework helps in developing child executive functioning skills, which is mostly about focus, self-control, disciple and information processing.


Executive functions are important mental skills like paying attention, organising and planning, starting and finishing a task and staying focused on them, and managing emotions, these skills help children to sail through life effectively.


Teaches self-discipline:


Homework teaches responsibility and self-discipline while instilling confidence and motivation. But why start early? Because it’s easier to mold the younger ones than shape the grownups.


Helps in processing and retaining information:


The other substantial factor is the working memory. Working memory is an ability that allows you to work with the information. It helps you learn and perform even the basic tasks.


When an information is received, it goes to the working memory for processing and repetition enforces that information to move to the long term memory.


What children learned in class need to be repeated to move that information to their long term-memory


Why do children find homework repulsive:


Homework is intended to be a positive experience that furthers learning and children should never view it as a punishment - sadly our children despise it.


They find the work boring and often rush through homework, leading to mistakes. But they need to understand why it’s important to do homework.


Children struggle with homework for various reasons:


Bored: some kids rush because they don’t like doing repetitive work.

“Mom again! No way I’ve finished 15 questions of the same problem.”


Tired: they’re tired after spending days at school and overloaded with extracurricular activities.

“I am sleepy: why do I have to do math now?”


Repetitive work: same kind of work, doing multiple questions of similar nature.

It’s annoying to do paraphrasing everyday.


No motivation: kids like immediate reward. This is one of the reasons they’re hooked to games where they have constant gratification of crossing the levels while studying they don’t see immediate reward.

“That’s why I’m hooked to candy crush”


Lack of understanding: the explained concept is unclear to them.

“I don’t understand gravity; how do I solve this question?”


Activities are not fun and engaging: they want to take up the tasks which are fun and engaging. Their mind wanders when the task seems boring.

“No fun, what a boring activity.”


Distractions around: when there are plenty of distractions like notifications, friends, family around, it causes distractions.


Without focus task in hand feels non – captivating

“My favourite movie is running in the next room and I am sitting here working on a boring project, Ah!”


Screen time: Dopamine is a feel good hormone and long hours of screen time give dopamine rush. When children are surrounded by high dopamine releasing activities, they find it challenging to finish less rewarding tasks.

“Now I know why it is so addictive and difficult to leave the game.”


Parents are unavailable: parents are unavailable to help and keep a check on children to see how are they performing.

“No one stopped me, let’s keep playing.”


Lack of consistency: They aren’t getting homework on a regular basis, inconsistency affects discipline and forming a habit.

“Today I don’t have to sit and study, no task. Next day, why do I have to do homework today, yesterday was better.”


A troubled home life: when children are emotionally disturbed, they find it difficult to focus and finish the work.

“Why are my parents always fighting.”


No feedback: they aren’t receiving feedback on their performance, both from the teachers and the parents.

“I am doing great! No one told me my answers are incorrect.”


How to fix the homework struggle:


Being a warrior mom, you need to fix the challenges in the way of your child homework struggles. Moreover you help them develop ownership and responsibility, because after a certain age children need to feel responsible for their own work.


Struggle : Child finds homework boring


Strategy: Try mixing things up.

Children get tired of similar subjects and formats, so aim for a varied approach.

Tell a story, ask questions, explain the concept while playing in free time.


Struggle : Child is tired


Strategy: Schedule a time when your child is well rested.

When children are tired, they lack energy and motivation to do homework. Ensure they’re rested and not cramped by the curricular activities.

Set a time for homework before they go to play.


Struggle: Distractions around, screen time


Strategy: Schedule a time for homework before the play time.

Ask your child to finish homework before they start their favourite show or game. Once they’re hooked to digital devices, it’s tough to focus on less engaging activities.


Struggle: Lack of consistency


Strategy: Make a schedule and set a fix time.

  • Use planner for homework. The planner helps them to have a visible schedule to follow. This also avoids the last moment havoc.

  • Assign a timer, turn off cell phones, television or any other distractions during study time.

  • Try to maintain consistency, irregularity derails the spirit of schedule.


Struggle: No motivation


Strategy: Prepare a checklist: when children have completed the task, they can cross and demonstrate their progress.


  • Highlight achievement: small achievement also helps in motivation. Use colours to highlight their accomplishments.

  • Create a point system: create a point system to show the child their performance.

  • Appreciate work: appreciate the small steps also, it helps to motivate the child to take up the big things.

  • Explain consequences: what happens when they miss out, you can have a point system to show how are they performing on a daily basis.

  • You can also try a chart with a highlighter reflecting their accomplishment.Encourage independence: slowly move them to own up and work independently mastery occurs when children work independently.


Struggle: Lack of understanding


Strategy: Assign age appropriate task

  • When the task is easy, children lose interest and get bored. If the task is tough, they struggle to cope and leave it.

  • If your child is finding the task tough in spite of it being age appropriate, then you need to pitch in and find out the reason.

  • Is the topic clear to the child.

  • Are they facing any learning challenges? You can talk to the teacher to find out the reason.

  • Help your child to understand concepts at home if needed, take external help.

  • After all, you want your child to learn and be effective and productive, not exhausted and overwhelmed.

Encourage note taking habits:


Help them learn to take notes. Note-taking is a positive habit. It helps children to comprehend the concept, especially for older children. There are several note taking tools which can help your child with note taking.


Give clear instructions:


Explain the objectives, give children clear, concise instructions and resources to follow. Unclear instruction creates confusion. Explain how to do the task and what resources they would need.


Struggle: Activities aren’t fun and engaging


Strategy: Link with day-to-day activities:


If the subject matter is relatable, students are more apt to complete homework assignments. Hands-on assignments that make sense in the real world can spark a student's interest and help in better understanding.

  • Take help of stories and day to day life examples.

  • When your child learns a new concept, allow them to apply on the day-to-day life, to make sense of what they’ve learnt.

  • Help them learn how to use Maths to calculate and save their pocket money.


Give a big picture:


Mostly, children have unclear picture of their learning goals. Giving a big picture provides them a sense of the world around. They need to know how the concept explained in Maths, Science and English are going to help them in their daily life.


Help to explore:


Give children the opportunity to have an “a-ha moment” during homework time. Allow them to think independently and extract information from other resources outside the books.


Struggle: Parents are unavailable


Strategy: Stay around, but ensure they do the homework, not you. Pick a time to do homework that works with the family schedule.


Struggle: No feedback


Strategy: Give positive feedback - when they follow the schedule, appreciate their work

Regularly keep up a check to find their progress.


Listen to challenges: If the child is facing any challenge, listen to the concern. Children need to feel heard.

Avoid harsh punishments, screaming and yelling - it creates negative experience and develop a resentment in children.

Discuss with the teacher if the problem persists.


Homework checklist:

  • Stay around, but ensure they do the homework, not you. Pick a time to do homework that works with the family schedule.

  • Talk and explain why homework is important.

  • Make a fix designated place with minimal distraction, remove all sorts of distractions around.

  • Let them arrange all supplies before they start, gather and organize homework supplies such as pencils, erasers, calculators, paper, etc.

  • Set a time to finish the task, use planner, timer and a checklist and let them remove items from the checklist as they progress.

  • Ask them to make notes during the school day and prepare for a test or long-term assignments in chunks instead of cramming and doing it in one go.

  • ·Show encouragement when they do their work and appreciate it.

  • · Give them responsibility and slowly moved them to take ownership of their work.

  • These are few of the strategies you can use to help your child sail through the homework trouble waters.

Conclusion:


Homework, when aligned with the topic explained, helps the child to move it from working memory to long term-memory. I know it’s hard work, but that’s what we parent do, we help our children learn and inculcate good habits and make progress in their life.

All the best to you!


Leave your comments and let us know your challenges and strategies to help your children with homework.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Somya

Hi there! I’m Muzna, the Founder and Editor of The Bliss Key, I live in San Francisco with my family and by profession I’m an eLearning consultant with more than a decade of experience, and a degree in Business Management and Instructional Design

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