Homework and study time can be a major source of conflict between parents and kids. Kids typically complain that their homework takes too long, the assignments are boring, and they don’t understand why they need to learn what is assigned. Parents often complain that their child doesn’t spend enough time studying or doing his or her homework. While it’s not realistic to expect a child to love homework or studying, it is possible for parents and kids to find strategies that make the process more manageable for everyone.
1. Set up an organized place where your child can do homework or study. The more convenient, the better for most kids. A desk in his room is ideal, but if it’s too far away, at least find him a quiet spot near you so he will be less tempted to wander off and get distracted by other things.
2. Create a homework or study schedule that works for your family. Some kids do better when they have time limits on how long they are allowed to work on their assignments, while others are much more motivated if you allow them to work until the assignment is finished. It’s important to find what fits each child best so he doesn’t become discouraged or frustrated.
3. Make sure your child has all the supplies he needs in order to complete his homework or study projects, including pencils/pens, erasers, paper (for writing), book bag (if needed), and calculators (if required). Don’t forget about headphones if studying with music is what helps him concentrate best.
4. Let your child develop a healthy bedtime routine, with sufficient sleep being the key to success in school. It’s best for kids with homework if they get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
5. Start the day off right by having a good breakfast and then limiting screen time before going to school or doing homework after school, when concentration is more difficult for kids..
6. Establish a weekend ritual where your child helps do chores, such as folding laundry or putting dishes away in the dishwasher. This will help him feel more self-sufficient and increase his sense of responsibility to others around him. It will also make him less likely to be resistant about tackling those chores during the week as well!
7. Set a good example and make sure you do your homework or chores before relaxing and watching TV. Your child will learn far more from how you live your life than what you tell him to do, so taking responsibility for yourself is the best way to show this!
8. Don’t expect too much too soon. Kids can be frustrated if they think you’ve set expectations that are unrealistic (e.g., you want them to study for an hour on weeknights, when they’re just not capable of doing it yet). Start small and build on success rather than failure.
9. When setting up rules about homework or studying time, try to agree with your child first, especially if he’s older, instead of just laying down the law without explanation. Be willing to listen to his concerns and negotiate, but do not give in completely when you know there are legitimate reasons why he is expected to follow certain guidelines.
10. Make sure your child understands the importance of homework or studying so that they learn the value of education beyond getting good grades. If you’ve shown him how working hard in school can lead to greater opportunities for success later in life, he will likely be more motivated to succeed with each assignment he receives in school!
11. Try using positive reinforcement rather than threats. When it comes time for grading books or tests, don’t just say “If you get less than an A on this next report card, then no video games for a week,” this type of approach usually leads to power struggles. Instead, tell your child what you will do together if he does well (e.g., “We’re going to the batting cages this Saturday for an hour!”).
12. Ask your child’s teacher how she wants you, as a parent, to help with homework or studying projects that are due at school. Sometimes teachers like for you to be involved in certain ways, while other times they prefer their students do it all on their own during class time. Understanding the specific requirements of each assignment can make helping your child much more straightforward and less confusing!
13. Some kids respond well when given praise for accomplishing tasks they find challenging. Find out from his teacher whether good grades are worth celebrating every time, or if a good grade is expected and a celebration only comes when your child exceeds that bar.
14. If he’s been struggling in school, consider whether there have been any recent big changes in his life, such as divorce of parents, family members moving away, death in the family, illness affecting his routine at home or at school, etc. These types of issues can be mentally taxing for kids and could cause them to struggle academically.
15. Be aware that avoiding homework or studying does not mean your child isn’t trying to do well in school—it might just be a sign he needs more help! Sometimes teachers will assign too much work without taking into account how much time their students need to complete it; this may lead your child to avoid the work in which he feels overwhelmed.
16. If your child is doing poorly in school, consider whether there are any learning disabilities that may be affecting his performance. Sometimes kids are embarrassed about these types of issues and never speak up, so take a look at this list of learning disabilities common among students to see if it could be a possibility.
17. If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability , have him/her evaluated by the school’s special needs department to see if the school can provide extra tutoring or other services. This will help them to achieve better grades, which could lead your child to be happier and more confident in school.
18. Make sure you don’t force your child to keep doing things he doesn’t like as a way of showing him you care about his grades (e.g., buying or making extra books for projects that don’t require outside research). If your school-aged kid hates chemistry, then he is not going to feel very motivated if you buy him an expensive edition of a textbook about the subject.
19. Talk to your child’s teacher(s) to find out what types of homework or studying strategies they recommend parents use when helping their students with different types of assignments (e.g., worksheets vs. in-class essays).
20. If you notice yourself getting frustrated because your child keeps whining when asked to do his work—in all likelihood, it means he just wants some more attention from you! Try giving positive reinforcement by saying things like, “I know you can do it!” or by showing more affection (i.e., hugs and kisses) instead of nagging or scolding him.
21. Be sure to give your child a break once in a while—on weekends, for example. If you never stop