How to get your child to do homework
Are you fed up with nagging your child to get on with their homework? Try our top tips to make homework time as painless as possible.
Get homework organised
Most schools issue a homework diary or timetable. Go through this with your child and make a plan so they don’t end up leaving it until the last minute. Decide on a regular time slot for homework that fits your household schedule and stick to this routine as much as possible.
Set up a homework space
Children work best in a quiet communal space with no phones or TV on in the background. Make sure it’s light and uncluttered and perhaps provide some fun and colourful equipment, or a special homework pen. A pad for ‘rough’ work is useful so they can try out their ideas before writing into neat.
Perhaps you have some ‘homework’ you can sit down and do at the same time as your child – it could be household admin or something work-related. You’ll set a good example and be on hand to help them if necessary.
Sometimes, they could invite a friend over so they can do their homework together, then have some fun when they’ve finished.
Break down tasks
It’s easier to get started if work is broken down into bite-sized chunks. Go through the homework with them and talk about how they could divide it into manageable sections – it’s a good study skill for the future.
Offer encouragement and praise
Praise them when chunks of work have been completed, and as they go along by saying things like, ‘I can see you’re getting loads done, so keep it up,’ or ‘That looks really neat.’
When you find something easy, it’s hard to understand why your child might find it difficult. However, your patience and understanding will help your child to improve. Equally, if homework time starts to get annoying, simply walk away rather than lose your temper – then come back to it refreshed.
Reward their efforts
Make sure there’s something to look forward to after the homework is done, such as playing outside, a favourite TV programme, or some screen time. You could put up a sticker on a chart every time they do their homework without moaning and have a reward for a good week’s work.
Still struggling with homework?
If your homework strategies still aren’t working, it could be for the following reasons.
- They’re getting too much homework, or it’s too hard. Teachers sometimes feel under pressure to challenge children and meet targets, or they may not realise how long the work is taking when they’re not there to help. Try to find out if other parents feel the same. In any case, you should raise your concerns with your child’s teacher.
- Your child is struggling with school work generally. Talk to the school about your worries and discuss the possibility that they might have a specific learning difficulty. It’s important this is identified early on and they receive the right support.
By Caroline Roberts
Caroline is a London-based freelance writer and ex teacher, contributing to the digital and print publications of a wide range of trade, membership and voluntary organisations, as well as national newspapers and consumer magazines.