If homework means a battle in your household and fills you with parental dread, maybe it’s time to take a little step back. Remember you’re not alone. The majority of parents share your despair. You can’t help but feel responsible – as if your parenting skills are being judged. So here are a few handy hints on how to help you restore calm, inspire confidence and bring harmony to your home.
1. APPROACH HOMEWORK FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE
Homework isn’t just a chore. It’s actually designed to supplement the learning that begins at school by reinforcing what’s been covered that day. In the classroom some topics are taught at speed. You know yourself some things need to be read again in a quiet place for the information to be understood and retained. So start thinking of boosting the learning power as the benefit of homework.
2. DEVELOP A ROUTINE
Yes, this is a tough one. Life is demanding when you’re juggling work, after-school clubs, making evening meals and children wanting to play out. All of these get in the way for both of you. As a parent you want to help make sure homework gets done but are too busy, while children will find anything at all far more interesting than ‘work’. But it’s proven that a set routine really helps.
Give your child some control and let them choose when they do knuckle down. You’re making them responsible, allowing them to make decisions and putting a few parameters around homework which you’ve both got to stick to.
3. CREATE A QUIET ENVIRONMENT
A place to think, concentrate and get stuck in without any distractions will make the world of difference. Turn the TV and mobile phones off, keep other children who aren’t doing homework away and make sure your child has all the right equipment – paper, pens, a calculator and most of all, a desk, the ideal place to hide away and focus is a space-saving Steens bed with desk. Once children are prepared, there’s no excuse and no need to break off and delay the task in hand.
4. JOIN FORCES AND SIT DOWN TOGETHER
Take an interest, ask how you can help and discover what is it that your son or daughter finds difficult. Ask if they could use some help from you or a chat with the teacher or a tutor maybe. Try doing the tougher sections first when patience and stamina are at a high. Then the easier work at the end requires less focus.
5. FACING THE CONSEQUENCES
Sometimes it’s good to experience the consequences. So letting your child face the downside of not doing homework or not handing it in might have a greater impact than your nagging and frustration. Some children rebel when you push them, so that horrible feeling of having let yourself down or not keeping up with your schoolmates can have a more positive effect. It can teach responsibility, pride and achievement. It mustn’t be mistaken for not caring. It’s an approach that teaches a different but important lesson.
6. ENCOURAGE, PRAISE AND REWARD HARD WORK
Rewarding effort with time spent together is a great way to highlight good work. Offering material rewards every time unfortunately presents your child with a different reason to do homework. Learning for self-esteem and achievement is proven to establish a lifelong attitude to working hard and helps to develop a great work ethic, which is a brilliant start to a successful adult life.