With the constant presence of distractions from the television and computer, it’s no wonder a battle often ensues when parents try to get their kids to start on their homework. However, the situation is not without hope and we have assembled some tips and tricks to help you and your child get through homework breezily, making it easier on both of you.
Allocate A Fixed Time For Homework
Some children will prefer to do their homework immediately after school, while others might require a break before hitting the books. Either way, the key here is to stick to a routine. Also, if your child is old enough, involve them in the decision of when homework time is. This way, they’ll know when they should expect to be doing their homework and will have a higher chance of sticking to the routine.
Reduce The Distractions
Switch off the television, computer and any other possible distractions when your child does their homework, and make sure that there is good light where they are working to keep them focused. You too should also be subjected to the same restrictions when you’re doing your work, so as to set a good example for your kids.
Learn And Adapt To How Your Child Learns Best
We are all different and do things in a varying manner, and children are exactly the same. It is not practical to expect one child to learn the same way as another, even if they are siblings. Instead, pay attention to the modes of learning that best suits your child, as well as the ways that will help them stay focused on the work in front of them.
Resist The Temptation To Jump In
It may be easier to just help your child do their homework when they are struggling, but this won’t benefit your child in the long run as it will create an undesirable dependence on you. Always bear in mind that it is their homework, not yours, but let your child feel assured that you will help as and when necessary.
Use A Timer
This will not only help keep your child on track to finishing their homework, but it can also turn it into a game for them – which is much better than him viewing homework time as a chore. You can also challenge your child to complete a section of his homework before the timer goes off and watch him try his best to “beat the clock”.
Stay Focused And Set Goals
Make a daily to-do list with your child and place it somewhere prominent, like at the study desk or on the refrigerator. You can even get your child to sign it like a contract to show that matters are taken very seriously. Coupling your ‘contract’ with incentives and penalties will also help motivate your child to fulfill their daily goals.
Free Up Their Schedule
If your child has many after-school activities, chances are they would be too exhausted to want to do their homework when they get home. While only a small issue at the start, the problem will become more evident as they grow older and the amount of homework increases. Always remind them to set priorities and remove any unnecessary activities to better manage their schoolwork.
It’s easy to get frustrated when your child isn’t able to answer simple questions, but what’s simple to you might be extremely difficult for them. Instead of lashing out, always remember to be encouraging and to not overreact when they make any mistakes. For each question done correctly, also remember to shower them with some sort of praise so that they will feel motivated to continue with their work.
Originally published in “Ending The Homework Battle”, written by Seow Kai Lun and Phoebe Ong, in Singapore’s Child February 2013