With the proper attitude in place and a homework routine established, the next step to homework success is motivation.
1. Be supportive and set the example. While it is not your job to do the work, the right amount of guidance on your part can go a long way in achieving homework success. As a lack of preparation or understanding can lead to homework procrastination, take a moment at the beginning of each session to ensure your child has everything needed to begin the work, such as special materials for a project or a clear understanding of the assignment at hand. Be available to answer questions that might arise. Set the example by sitting down with your child and doing your own work at the same time ( e.g. read a book, balance your checkbook, etc.)
2. Reward efforts.
When it comes to homework, intrinsic rewards that aim to foster satisfaction for a job well done are generally more effective than material rewards since they foster motivation that comes from within as opposed to motivation that is driven by a desire for an external reward. Offer praise for work done well. Accentuate the positives rather than focusing on the negatives. When real rewards are merited, offer simple incentives such as an ice cream outing, a pizza dinner, or a special family time event.
3. Let your child make his own choices and deal with the consequences.
As homework is ultimately your child’s responsibility, your job is to set limits and respect individual choices. While younger children may need more hands-on support and guidance, older children need more freedom. And that includes the freedom to choose whether or not to do their homework and face the logical consequences of their actions. Let your child deal with the teacher and the bad grades received as a result of her inaction. While it may be difficult step aside, this is the best way to help your child as it will teach him important lessons in self-responsibility. You can; however, support the process in other ways. For example, with your child’s input, you can put together a study plan that involves more structure and follow up during homework time to get your child back on his or her feet.
With the right attitude, clear boundaries and proper motivation, homework challenges can often be avoided. Sometimes, however, issues arise that are more a matter of “can’t do” versus “won’t do.” In these cases it is best to alert the teacher so you can work together to resolve these challenges and improve your child’s homework and learning experiences.
In what ways can you change your approach to make homework time a more positive experience?