Got Homework Headaches?
Even more complicated is when they lie about their homework, saying they have less than they really have, or that they don’t have any when they really do. Sometimes they will even tell you they are all done when they have really been playing video games or listening to music in their rooms all evening. How should you respond?
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet or quick fix. But we have four pointers to stop homework headaches in their tracks.
Can you still remember when you didn’t like to do homework? Chances are you did not understand the importance of doing homework, or the implications of not getting it done. Most kids find homework a burden that keeps them from doing the fun things they would rather be doing. Lecturing them will probably make matters worse. Recognizing this is the first step. Ideally, these tips will help you inspire them to take their homework seriously.
2. Let them select the time
Every child is different. Some would rather get their homework out of the way as soon as they get home. Others would rather wait until after dinner, or after they have had time to unwind by watching a little TV, or surfing the internet. Observe your child, and find out when they seem to be most energized and focused. Then ask them what they think is their best time of day to do a good job, and see if you agree. You may be surprised at the response. While rare, your child may be one of those people who is most energized early in the morning, and ought to go to bed early and leave homework until the next day!
3. Schedule That Time
As soon as you have identified the best time for homework for your child, put it on the family schedule right then, so that he can see where it fits in, and plan the rest of his afternoon and evening accordingly. Then stick to the schedule. Children thrive on routines, and are more likely to stick to them when they have selected the time themselves.
4. Make it Pleasant and Comfortable
Does your child need absolute silence in order to concentrate? Find a quiet corner in a room away from the hustle and bustle of your household that will enable her to be quiet and focus on her homework. Or your child may be one of those who needs activity around him in order to concentrate. Some kids can listen to music or even have the television on in the background and still give their full attention to homework. In that case, you will want to set up a work station for him that will allow him to be a part of what your other family members are doing while completing homework. Just be sure to monitor him carefully to be sure he is not getting distracted, and do not allow this option to be implemented in the child’s own room behind a closed door. There are too many opportunities to do other things while you are not looking.
If you can make the homework station as comfortable as possible, this could even make doing homework something to look forward to. OK, maybe not. But at least it won’t be something to be dreaded. Set aside a space with some snacks and beverages, a favorite chair and perhaps some music if it is not distracting. If everything is working out, and the work is being completed in a timely way, perhaps you can allow a pet to join them, or offer some other small reward for completing the work.
No room? No problem
If you do not have a lot of room to set aside a dedicated space in your home for homework, you can purchase rolling carts to hold supplies and arrange to set up the area every day, and put everything away when the homework is done. The whole point is to stop your homework headaches by making the space comfortable and inviting – a “safe place” that your child associates with peace and a sense of accomplishment, and really wants to spend time there.