Help Homework Get Done

Parents may get as frustrated with homework as their kids are, and it’s sometimes hard to know how much help is appropriate and how much you should back off. To help your kids take responsibility for their homework, here are some tips you can try.

Establish a Routine

Involve the child in establishing a routine for homework. Your child may not know exactly what works for him at first; there may need to be some trial and error. First, decide when homework will be done. Right after school? After a snack and a bit of play time? Right after dinner? Whatever you choose, try to make it consistent. Having to do homework at the same time every day can help with motivation and remembering.

When you work out the homework routine with your child, take his or her learning style, temperament, and needs into consideration. Decide whether you want something included in the routine because it’s best for your child or because you just think it should be done that way. Be flexible and open to your child’s style of learning. As long as the homework is getting done in a reasonable amount of time and is done well, there’s no need to worry about having the “right” routine.

A Place to Call His or Her Own

Establishing a homework location is as important as establishing a time. Again, this need not follow rigid guidelines; watch your child and talk to him about how he functions best – alone? With an adult present? With music? In silence? There will be some trial and error here too, no doubt – your child may think he concentrates great working along with music, but if his homework isn’t getting done, you’ll have to re-think this.

Homework Schedule

Help your child work out a homework schedule. At first, you will probably need to guide him through this. Go through the assignments and work out a timetable – how long does he estimate each assignment will take? How many assignments are there? How much time is there before dinner or bed? Show him how to break up his assignments – which may seem overwhelming – into a doable list. Allow him to do more and more of the scheduling each time until he’s doing it on his own.

It’s okay to schedule in breaks for your kids. Some children prefer frequent breaks and others like to get it all done at once. As long as the breaks are scheduled in and not too frequent, they can help the child complete his tasks.

Rewards and Incentives

Sometimes, rewards and incentives can really help. Getting a good grade can seem like a vague goal, especially to younger children. Your child may need small rewards throughout the homework session, or he may be fine with a weekly or once daily reward.

Older kids can shoot for a monthly goal and reward. Regardless of how long your child goes in earning his reward, experts say that a system of points tends to work best. Establish a point system where each task is worth a certain amount of points. The child can periodically “cash in” the points for privileges. You can use play money, too, for younger kids.

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