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Getting your kids to do their homework

what parents can do to support their children's learning
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In an ideal world our children would scurry home from school and dutifully pull out their books, eager to complete their homework before dinner. In the real world that rarely happens, and as adults we can understand our children’s need for a little downtime in their day too. Encouraging children to take a realistic approach to the necessity of their evening efforts will help to make the work feel less of a chore. Consider the following ideas when working out how to help your child be the best they can be, at home and at school.

Make sure YOU get it

Your children are hardly likely to have a good attitude to homework if you give off the impression that you are not convinced it matters. Homework is not about taking up the slack for things the teachers ran out of time for. It is designed to:

• Reinforce learning from the day

• Help children develop self-discipline and responsibility, and encourage good time management and organisational skills

• Provide the time for children to expand on knowledge learned in school, using resources that may not be available there

Step into your child’s head

As scary a concept as that may be, if you are going to help your child you need to understand how THEY see the homework issue. Some kids love the challenge, but most simply do not like it, and never will. Encouraging your child is not about making the homework seem more appealing. It is about acknowledging their feelings about it, and instilling a sense of acceptance about the fact it simply must be done.

As a parent it is your job to establish the boundaries that support the inevitability of such issues. Learning that certain expectations placed on them just have to be accepted will help your child throughout their life. After all, which of us would choose to go to work if we did not have to? Yet we accept the fact, and get on with it. It is a skill more easily learned in youth.

Girl doing homework

Facilitation, not domination

Removal of privileges and a domineering, hard-line approach to getting children to comply with the homework rule may achieve grudging results, but it is far better to act as a facilitator in the homework process. In this way your child can take more ownership and responsibility for the task, and this will help them feel more in control. Things you can do to help include:

• Creating a quiet, distraction-free environment in which your child can work

• Help your child identify what tools they need to complete their work, and make sure they are available

• Be interested, and encourage your child to share and explore concepts with you

• Avoid becoming so involved you end up doing the homework yourself

Positive Mental Attitude

Studies have shown that a motivated child is more prepared to engage in homework. If they perceive that the work will help them reach a desired goal, such as a dream to become a doctor or vet, for example, they will be happier to knuckle-down. Even without a clear goal, positioning homework in a way that shows how it helps to keep options and opportunities open can help.

Set a good example

Working alongside your children is a great way to show them that home-working is a part of life. Balance your cheque book, pay some bills, or draw up a plan for a household project whilst they are doing their homework. If you have work from the office to do too, then this is a perfect chance to show your children what is required, and that it is not so bad after all.

Embrace consequences, teach responsibility

Teachers have effective ways of dealing with children who refuse to submit homework, or consistently produce work that is sub-standard. Allowing your child to experience the wrath of the professionals can be a useful way to help them learn where the boundaries lie. Never be afraid to let your child learn the hard way, as sometimes it is the only way to get the message across. Becoming aware of the possibility of consequences also helps your child learn that vital life skill of taking responsibility for your own actions.

 

 

 

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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