Most parents have been there—the nightly homework struggle.
Students rarely look forward to completing their homework assignments after the last school bell has rung for the day. However, homework is part of being a student—and one that has an impact on future academic performance. This makes it important to figure out how to encourage kids to do their homework without a nightly quarrel.
The Importance of Homework
Homework supplements the education that children are getting in the classroom. Its role is to increase comprehension and give students the chance to study, practice, and understand the material. This type of “outside-the-classroom” thinking can help increase the development of positive study habits, improve cognition and memory, and encourage time management.
So, why the resistance?
Students often have trouble seeing the value in homework. After all, they just spent an entire day in school, so why should they sacrifice their valuable free time to do more work? Other factors, from attention and motivation issues to poor time management and organizational skills can also lead to students having trouble completing their homework.
How to motivate kids to do homework
Students who don’t do their homework or continually battle with their parents about it often experience higher levels of stress. This stress can lead to a lack of motivation both inside and outside of the classroom, causing them to fall behind. It’s important for parents to take an active role in making sure students complete their homework so their performance doesn’t suffer.
How can you make homework time a smoother process? Rather than making your child do homework, focus on how you can make homework more a more enjoyable experience for your child. Don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds!
Follow these tips on how encourage good homework habits in your child.
Give kids a break after school
Lead by example
Talk about the benefits
Creating a schedule your child can follow makes it easier to get him or her to sit down and complete homework assignments. Set a time and create a special study space for homework to be completed, making it part of the child’s nightly routine.
Don’t force your child to do homework as soon as he or she gets home. Let him or her have some time after school to give his or her mind a break before starting homework. This break can help improve motivation and focus when it is time for your child to do his or her homework.
Show encouragement and appreciation of your child’s hard work when he or she has completed his or her homework. Something as small as a high five or words of praise can boost your child’s motivation. You can also offer small rewards, like a trip to the store or a special treat.
While you child does his or her homework, don’t engage in other preferred activities, such as watching TV. Read a book, do some research, or scratch a chore off your to-do list.
Rather than yelling, have a calm discussion with your child about why homework is important. Fighting with your child will increase stress and frustration, leaving him or her unable and unwilling to focus on homework.
No More Homework Arguments!
By encouraging—rather than forcing—your child to complete his or her homework, you can help your child become a more organized, proactive student. This will save you a lot of arguments down the line, letting your child use his or her energy to reach his or her potential rather than avoiding homework.
The Homework Struggle: How to Encourage Kids to Do Homework
Sep 21, 2017•Homework
Recently, a SOAR® subscriber asked for tips to help her daughter stay on-task with her homework. Just last night, a student in my Homework Action Group complained of the same problem. “I have a hard time staying focused on homework. It takes me forever to do it!”
I also remember, as a young student, sitting at my desk, wriggling and squirming.Soon, I would need a drink, or snack, or pencil… After getting lost in the kitchen and sucked into a TV show, it would be another hour before I returned to my homework.
It would get so late, I finally had no choice but to do my homework. By that time, I was irritable, annoyed, and impatient. (Don’t laugh, Mom!) That made homework even worse.
Why did I do this?
I didn’t like homework. Obviously. I didn’t know how to do it efficiently. I didn’t have the discipline to do it quickly.
But, I’ve learned a lot since then…
There isn’t much I can do to help anyone “like” homework. I can teach strategies for completing it faster, but that takes 150 pages. So, this article will help you improve your self-discipline.
“Self-Discipline Does NOT Sound Fun!”
Yes, I know… self-discipline sounds dreadful. But, it’s time to change your perspective. Just past the point of resistance is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and a big pay-off.
Self-discipline is what motivates athletes to win championships and wealthy people to earn their riches. One of the world’s most successful marketing campaigns was created on the concept of self-discipline; NIKE inspires athletes to “Just Do It!” Apply that attitude to homework, and great things will happen.
Action Plan for Staying Focused on Homework
“Just do it!” is a little easier said than done, especially when it comes to homework. However, the following tips will help you get started:
- The hours between 3-6 p.m. are typically the most wasted of a student’s day. Make them your most productive by doing homework within one hour after school, when possible. You’re most alert at this time, so homework will be easier than doing it later.
- Find small sections of time for homework before you get home… on the bus, before basketball practice, or even during school. (There is a lot of “down-time” in classes, such as when teachers take attendance.) The less homework you have when you get home, the more motivated you will be to finish the rest quickly.
- Reward yourself. Challenge yourself to do all of your homework before a specific time. Then, you’ll have plenty of time to watch Netflix, play video games, text friends, etc.
- Fill a basket with supplies you need for homework: pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, stapler, paper, scissors, markers, glue, ruler, etc. Keep the basket next to you so everything will be right at your fingertips. One trip across the house for a stapler can cost you hours when you get sidetracked by the refrigerator, TV, or computer. Every sibling should have their own basket. If you live in two homes, keep one basket in each house.
- Eliminate distractions. It’s tempting to watch TV, listen to music, and text friends while doing homework. However, the human brain is only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your attention constantly shifts back-and-forth. Sometimes that shift happens so rapidly, you don’t even notice it. However, you will be:doubling your homework time, increasing errors, and completely destroying any learning that might happen while doing homework.
- Use an electronic timer. Before you begin an assignment, determine how much time it should take to complete. Add five minutes and set the timer. Challenge yourself to finish before the timer goes off. This is great way to develop motivation (a.k.a. self-discipline) because it becomes a game to play against yourself. For younger students, parents can offer small rewards for each assignment that is done before the timer goes off.
- Parents: Do your “homework” while your child does their homework. You have bills to pay and school papers to complete. Do those chores during “homework time.” It helps them feel like they aren’t “missing out” and keeps them focused.
Homework is usually NOT fun. But, you can make it much easier if you follow Nike’s advice and “Just Do It!” Your evenings will suddenly have more free time.Your grades will improve as you learn information while doing homework.
Before long, you’ll develop a much better attitude towards homework because you will have taken control of it, instead of your homework taking control of you.
To get more simple ways to easily “Just Do It,” check out our dynamic and interactive app for students.
To your success,
Filed Under: StudentsTagged With: homework, students