How to Handle Homework Struggles
The homework debacle is something every parent will face at one point in their lifetime. Children often balk at the idea of doing homework after school. Defiant attitudes, lack of respect for the work, timing issues, lack of interest and discouragement are all factors that contribute to children not wanting to complete their homework.
Is your child at this point in their life with homework? If yes, there are a few things you can do as a parent to help win the homework struggle.
Cultivate a Learning Environment
A dedicated and cultivated learning environment can help tame the attitude towards homework. Try gathering everyone in the same room rather than in their separate bedrooms and turn of ALL electronics- including parents! Parents can work on their budget or organize things as part of their “homework time.” This environment should be the reflection of a library atmosphere- quiet and focused.
Scheduling is Key
After the homework environment is decided on and created, the next thing to consider is scheduling. Scheduling can be the most important factor because too soon after school can create burnout for your child, and too late in the evening can damage their focus.
After a snack, playtime, or sports activity, set aside a certain amount of time for “homework time” in a quiet environment that is free of all electronics and distractions. If the sessions are too long and your child has difficulty focusing, you can break up the time into sections. Timing may have to be flexible based on activities, appointments, etc. Communicate with members of your family to give them an “updated” schedule of when homework time will be.
Adjust the timing as needed in order to maximize focus and effort for your child.
Setting a dedicated time in a learning environment removes the need for excuses and arguing. Both you and your child know when homework hour will be and where it will be. Give your child time to adjust to the new homework plan and you will see the negativity surrounding the idea of homework decrease.
What to Do as a Parent
After the introduction of your new homework plan and setting are established there are a few things you can do as a parent to achieve homework success.
The best thing you can do as a parent during homework time is to praise every effort and improvement. Continually focusing on mistakes or lack of attention or effort discourages your child. This only feeds the negativity many children have towards homework time. Sing their praises for any small effort and offer constant encouragement during this dedicated time.
Do not stress over disagreements or difficulty with implementing homework time. Getting over-anxious as well as pressuring your child too much can affect both you and your child. This plan will take time for everyone to get used to before it becomes routine.
As a parent in the struggle with homework, know that setbacks WILL happen. Your child will not always want to do homework just as you don’t always want to do laundry or clean. Understand that on days like this, it is acceptable. Power through the difficult times with encouragement, a homework schedule, and a quiet environment and know that it will get better. Consistency is key in the homework struggle!
Michelle Dell’Aquila, M.A.
Director of the CDA program
Michelle Dell’Aquila, M.A. is a licensed child therapist who is currently the director of CDA, a program geared for infants to 5-year-old providing developmental assessments, advice to parents at home and for teachers in schools.