5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Relationship With Homework
If your nightly routine consists of struggling to get your tired, frustrated child to complete their homework, you're likely desperate for anything that can make your evening easier. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are just a few simple things you can do to make homework time a little less painful (including some tech options) and a little more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Understand Your Child's Point of View
While it's easy to get frustrated if your little one is screaming, crying, or otherwise refusing to finish their homework, it's vital to take a moment to understand where they're coming from. Before starting on homework, take a minute or two to talk to your child about how they're feeling — did they have a bad day? Are they struggling to understand a certain topic? If you start the night making sure your child knows you're on their side, things are more likely to go smoothly, and you'll be better able to anticipate meltdowns before they arise.
Make It Pleasant
While homework is hard work, the process of sitting down to do it doesn't need to be miserable. Try letting your little one have a snack as they work, let them pick from a selection of study music or ambient noise, and get them to take frequent breaks — don't expect them to focus for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.
Consider using a tablet, such as the iPad 10.2, as motivation. It’s laden with fun features to ease homework woes, and it’s lightweight, powerful, and versatile. And once homework is complete, your youngster can transition directly to playing games for a little while. You might even be able to sneak in an educational app like GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, or find an educational streaming channel like PBS KIDS.
If this idea appeals to you but your family uses Androids, don't worry — try an alternative like the Asus Chromebook Tablet CT100, which has the power and capability for homework and games, and also is extremely durable.
Make a Dedicated Space
Doing the same type of mental work in the same space every day helps to increase recall — Mountain Heights Academy explains this phenomenon is known as context-specific memory. To boost your youngster’s learning power, creating a dedicated study space is a great way to give their brain the cue that it's time to focus. This space doesn't need to be huge or elaborate, but it should be comfortable — think warm lighting, a good chair, and pleasant ambient noise such as Rainy Mood. Remove as many distractions as possible, and let your child help decorate the space to make it their own.
Stick to a Schedule
This can be difficult with the constant interruptions and obligations of daily life, but if at all possible, try to sit down with your child at the same time every night to work on homework. This has a number of benefits. It helps your child learn time management and responsibility, which will benefit them throughout their school life and into adulthood. Additionally, a routine can be incredibly comforting — rather than unexpectedly having to shift from playtime to homework time, having a regular schedule can help ease the transition and give children something to expect.
According to Quartz, studies show that children who are praised for being smart tend to fear failure and avoid taking risks. Praising kids based on the effort they make to overcome challenges, however, encourages them to try harder and makes it easier for them to cope when they struggle to understand something. Make it clear to your kids that when they work hard to learn something difficult, it grows their brain — meaning that each time they overcome a challenge, the topic they fear will get easier.
Homework doesn't need to be a nightly struggle. Establishing routines, communicating kindly and openly with your child, and consciously praising and encouraging hard work will all help enable your child to have a healthy relationship with homework. Make some minor adjustments and you’re sure to see big benefits.