One of the most difficult things parents face when kids start going back to school is dealing with all the school homework. On one side, you have your kid who refuses to sit and complete their homework and on the other side you feel a moral pressure from school to make kids do their homework in order to perform well academically. If you are sandwiched between these two scenarios, here are some tried and tested ways to motivate kids to do their homework:
1. Help them get started
Set up their homework desk and help them to get it started. You can assign them to do some part and tell them that once done, you will come back and help with other things. This way, they feel you are involved in it and it is not just them doing the homework.
2. All work and no play makes them sad and grey!!
Do not tell them they can’t play if they don’t do their homework. It makes them feel hatred towards homework and they tend to do it without any interest, just for the sake of it. Instead, try scheduling their play and homework time in such a way that they don’t feel the burden of doing homework.
3. Use a sand clock
I used to do this with my elder one and it worked really well. I would keep the sand clock near the desk and would challenge him if he could finish his homework or some parts of it till the sand is empty and it worked like a charm. He loved the challenge and it made him feel a sense of accomplishment when he finished his homework by beating the clock!
4. Give them a break
Small breaks to gaze through the window, chat with family members or have snack works wonders. Kids have low attention span and small breaks helps them to focus better. But do ensure that these small breaks should not last more than 15 minutes and should be screen free.
5. Tell them why it is important to do homework
When kids don’t understand the reason behind things, they tend to avoid it. So if you tell them that homework helps you remember things better or it will make it easy to learn things in class, they know why they need to do it. Talk to them and know why they feel uninterested and make them understand why it is important to complete school homework.
6. Be in touch with teachers
Sometimes, kids miss out on instructions given by teachers regarding homework and they tend to do it differently than what was expected. By being in contact with teachers, you can know how and what exactly they need to do in their homework and you can help kids accordingly. Also, it helps in knowing what kids are doing at school and which subjects they are more interested in. It was a nightmare for me when my younger one filled her alphabet worksheet in all small caps when it was expected to write it in cursive. So it is better to know the homework well.
7. Make it a play for them
If you feel kids are getting bored by just sitting at one place and doing their homework, make it interesting for them. For example, I used to put colored cushions on few places around the house and would tell them to complete each page near different colored cushion. This makes them attentive and interested in homework and they also remember it better.
8. Do the easy thing first
Let kids do the easy part of homework first. It makes you win half of the battle and they feel they did it so fast. Encourage and help them to do the difficult part by showing them how they did the easy part so quickly. This not only makes them confident of doing the hard things but also makes them believe in themselves better.
9. Avoid Negative Talks About Homework
Try to refrain from saying things like ” Oh no, you have so much homework today!!” or “Why would school give so much homework to young kids”. Kids catch your words easily and if they make up their mind that it is too much of a task for them to complete their homework, they would not even bother to start it!! So try saying things this “We have little extra homework today, how about we do it quickly. I can help you when you need me!!”
10. Surprise with rewards
Bribing is a big no no for kids. Once they learn that they will get something to get things done, they won’t do it untill they get their bribe. But rewards work oppositely. When you recognise their hardwork and reward them for it, they understand the value of their work and also happen to feel motivated to do things better.
Lastly, I would say, as a parent, do not stress about homework. The more chill and discplined you will be about it, the more your kids will be interested towards completing it. You can visit my Instagram handle @myteenytots to see how I manage my kid’s school, homework and play.