Do you find yourself caught up in a nightly (or daily) struggle over your kids’ homework? Last year we really struggled in our home to not have the daily meltdown.
It can be a frustration for everyone, especially if there is a lot of homework or your kids don’t understand it. And matters get even more complicated if kids lie about their homework, saying they don’t have any when they do, or tell you they’ve finished it when they’ve been listening to music in their room for two hours.
What’s a Parent to Do? Here are some tips I learned first hand to stop the homework power struggles while trying to get my son to do his homework.
Four Tips for Stopping Homework Power Struggles
While there are no magical fixes, here are four tips for stopping homework power struggles.
Remember how you were about homework as a kid – you probably didn’t understand the long-term implications of getting it done (or not getting it done). For most kids, homework is a burdensome inconvenience that keeps them from doing what they want. Period. Lectures aren’t likely to change their minds! Being aware of this is the first step to tackling the homework problem. And hopefully, you can motivate them with the following tips.
2. Let them choose a time
If you’re trying to get your kids to do their homework right after school or right before dinner, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Ask your child to come up with a time when he (or she) feels most energized and focused – what time is good for him? You may be surprised. He may tell you that he feels too fragmented right after school and needs to regroup, or he might mention that he feels better after dinner. Try to work with your child to come up with a good time for the homework to get done.
3. Schedule that time
Once you’ve come up with a good time for homework, schedule it in. Work it into your child’s daily schedule so that he can see where it fits in, and arrange things accordingly.
4. Make it comfy
Does your child need to be alone and quiet to concentrate? Try fixing up a quiet corner for him to work, and respect his privacy. Maybe your child prefers music and activity around him to focus. In that case, set up a place where he can be “part of the action” – as long as he doesn’t get distracted.
The place where your child does his or her homework should be set up to be a comfortable spot. This can make going to do their homework something to look forward to (almost). Set aside a space where your child has some snacks, drinks, music (if it doesn’t distract), a favorite chair (maybe buy a special chair, like a beanbag chair, for the purpose), and even plants or a place for a favorite pet to join them.
If you are short on space, these items can be taken out and set up each day and put away when homework is finished. The point is to make the homework spot a place where your child wants to be.
5. Consider Additional Issues
OK. I lied. There are really 5 tips… but this one is a BIGGIE!
Many kids throw up a fight when they are really struggling but don’t know how to tell you. If you see your child is throwing a fit every time he has math homework or reading, reach out to his teachers to get the inside scoop if he’s stuck or not progressing.
For us, despite the fact the teachers just kept saying my son needed to practice his reading, we knew something bigger was going on. We had our son tested outside of the school and discovered that he has severe dyslexia. We finally began to understand why he was flipping out over homework all the time. We started getting him additional help as well as intervention within school and began to follow these tips to start setting him up for success.