Homework is a part of parenting that I am just now walking into the world of and I am realizing that it can be one of the more challenging parts! My son is only in the first grade, but most days I was struggling with how to motivate him properly. I have found a few things that work for me and hope that you can find one or two things to try with your own kids!
1. Get it done sooner than later
Procrastination ALWAYS makes things worse and more stressful for the parent and the child, so I have found if we tackle it quickly and tuck it away to turn in later that we are both much happier. This means that after school he has a little “down time” 15-30 minutes and then we get to it! For your child it may have to be less time because they loose motivation or don’t want to get back to working because they are having too much fun playing. Decide what time works for you and stick to it. Consistency and clear expectations can help a lot. Once we’ve decided on a time together I will set the kitchen timer so that when the buzzer goes off we both know it is time to get started and I can’t be accused of not giving him enough time or have him begging for just 5 more minutes. 🙂 If they help you pick about the amount of downtime they will be much more willing to comply with it because they helped you set the rule.
2. Have a snack
Kids need to recharge a bit after having a full day at school. If I have a little snack waiting it always makes things go a little more smoothly.
Kids don’t want to feel like they are being FORCED to do anything, but it is always a good idea to set some perimeters. So in this case, I might offer the choice of eating the snack before homework, during homework, or after homework. If your child is older you may even give them the option of finishing their homework by the end of the day and they can choose when, but it must be done.
4. Remove Distractions
Try as best you can to designate a clean space where your child can work. Turn off the TV. Engage younger children in their own activity so that you can focus on homework time. During this time I will often set my younger daughter up with her own homework. She will do abcmouse.com or take this time to practice her paint skills or letter tracing.
If you have a mover and when I say mover, I mean someone who has the wiggles and may need a break, I have given my son a reward during studying spelling words by doing a few flips (I swing him around) or I we will play a quick game that bring the giggles in while we study. If it is a spelling word I might spell the word “haul” by touching his nose for H, his forehead for A, his chin for U and his ear for L. I don’t know what it is about it, but incorporating movement makes learning a lot easier for him.
4. Have Natural Consequences
Overall we want our children to learn to be responsible and successful in their lives. Depending on the age of the child you may have different levels of expectations for what they must do on their own, but always have a clear understanding that work comes before play. Consequences can also be good…if your child commits to getting his/her homework done within a certain time frame or goal there can be rewards for that. You could have extra play time with friends, time to spend on their electronic devices, or one on one time with Mom and Dad.
5. Let them be the Teacher
Give them the opportunity to teach you what they learned in class today. As you work through problems together as them what they think the best approach to finishing the problem together would be. Take a step back and you may find that with more ownership your child finds pride and greater understand in trying to explain things to you!
6. Pizza Monday
Okay, so this is the tip that has been GREAT for us this year. My son receives a packet of homework that is due at the end of the week and I found that each day it was a struggle to always be working on homework with so much else going on in life. So I told my son that if he would focus on Mondays and we could get the whole packet done by the time we had to leave for gymnastics we would have PIZZA Monday. Pizza is his favorite food and I found that this was incredibly motivating for him. If homework is not finished on this day we just skip it and have something else for dinner.
We always use Papa Johns for pizza on Mondays because you can use the code 7MON or MON7 that makes the pizza only $7 for a large one topping!
Find a motivator that works for your child, you could even come up with some ideas together during a happy time when you can make some goals together.
7. Stay Positive and celebrate success
Do your very best to acknowledge the work they are doing and that they are trying. It is okay to celebrate the little things. Make small goals that will work into bigger goals and celebrate them together. Our children want to know that we are proud of them and believe in their ability to succeed. Hopefully in instilling this feeling towards their learning they will have confidence to take on science projects all on their own so you don’t have to do it for them! ha!
What tips do you have that work for you?
Click on the photos below to find some ideas for homework organization:
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!