Homework Tips That WORK!

School is underway and with the classroom comes homework. With homework can come a hassle. Is there a struggle every weekday trying to get your kids to get things done? If there is, it is totally normal. 50% of parents fight with their kids every night over homework.

I have a few basic reminders for you that will ease the homework pain.

Be realistic. We care more about their homework than our kids do. We know its importance because we have age and wisdom under our belt. We have to be realistic and understand that they just can't possibly get it to the same degree we do. We also need to be realistic when it comes to the time they spend doing homework. Our children don't need to sit in front of homework all.night.long. In fact, more is not necessarily better. Be realistic with homework time. A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes of homework for each grade your child is in. So a third grader should spend 30 minutes each night on homework. If you sense that your children are spending too much time on homework, it could be that they are getting distracted or more likely that they don't understand the subject. Not understanding would be a totally different situation than refusing to do work because they want to play video games.

Avoid the power struggles. We can't make our kids do something, but we can control how we act and what WE say and do. We need to set appropriate expectations, consequences, and make sure we have a homework environment that is conducive for our children. If they choose not to study, we make sure the consequences are upheld. If homework time everyday is miserable our kids will not want to study. We need to do our best to keep the situation positive.

Schedule daily homework time and location. Homework should be done at the same time everyday, and in the same place. Make it clear that this time is mandatory, even when your kids don't have something due the next day. If there is nothing specific for your child to do, they can work on a skill where they are a little weak, study for an upcoming test, or get ahead on their work. Location should be clutter free and distraction free.  NO electronics, or other distractions.

Be available. No one likes to be all alone. By simply being in the same room as our children, we make homework fights less likely. This doesn't mean we do their homework for them, but instead we are available in case they have questions. Even better, sit down at the same time as your kids and quietly work on something also. You could read, study something of your own, draw, anything. But make it your "study" time also.

Be consistent. Consistency is vital to homework success especially as you are establishing patterns. If we tell our children that 4:30 every day is homework time but let them off the hook three days a week because they want to play with the neighbors, we have just sent the message that we are not really that serious. There will be time later on to make exceptions, but establish the patterns first and be consistent with them. We also need to be consistent with the consequences. If we say that our kids can't watch TV until their homework is done, we need to stick to that. Research shows that kids who are consistent with studying and getting their homework done are more successful in school and in life.

Use privileges. Explain to your kids that there are many privileges that will be their's if they do their homework. When homework is done it means they can play with friends, use electronics, ride bikes, etc.... whatever it is they love, they can do once their work is done.

Stick with the basics when it comes to homework struggles and you will see positive changes in your child's behavior. Study skills are life skills and helping our children understand their importance will go a long way for them in the future.


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