Kids everywhere are well into the thick of school and once they get settled into their routines is often when homework battles will begin. When school is brand new, most teachers easy up on the amount of work that comes home but by this time of year, all bets are off and most kids have plenty of work to do. Then you add in sports, after school clubs and general tiredness, and some kids may begin the ever dreaded Homework Battle! Most of us have been there. My oldest, whom is very smart, still comes home tired and can put up some pretty big fits about doing her homework. Obviously NOT doing it isn’t an option so, take a seat and get ready for Homework 101 where we will lean how to avoid the dreaded homework battle!
First, you have to set them up for success…..
1. Stay organized with you supplies and have everything you need, ready to go. We use a portable supply basket that can be brought where ever we are doing homework (usually at the kitchen table). This way, we are not searching for the materials we need.
2. Find the right time to work on it. For us, it’s right after school, but other kids may need to decompress first. Figure out what your child needs and do it then- but be sure not to wait too long or they may never want to do it!
3. Get them a snack first. No one likes to work on an empty tummy. Be sure they have had some brain food first before they start working.
4. Choose the right space. For us, it’s the kitchen table. It’s bright, quiet and right where I can see them! Other kids may work better on their own or alone so see what’s best for your child.
Now let’s get started….
5. Make a plan of action. Evaluate what needs to be done: How many assignments are there? What needs to be done first? How much reading? Let your child help choose what order they want to work in.
6. Let your child work on some independently, and help when needed. Kids work independently at school, so why can’t they at home? My plan is to let them do as much as they can on their own and then help out on the problems they need me with.
7. Take a break if needed. If your child has a lot of homework, you may want to break it up. Say, do their math right away and then reading later after dinner. As long as it all gets done, there’s no harm in doing it in chunks.
8. Have them “teach you”. My daughter seems to better when she explains out loud what she is doing. This may not work with all kids, but depending on their learning style, they may do better by working through their problems out loud.
9. Offer an incentive. If homework battles are really prevalent, offer a mini reward for a job well done. Set some expectations on how you think homework should go and see what they think too. If those expectations are met, then maybe they can earn an extra 15 minutes of tablet time or an extra TV show on the weekend. Or maybe work up to a bigger goal- if they do well all week, they can get an ice cream cone on the weekend. Remember that your child has already been “at work” for over 6 hours- imagine how you feel at the end of a long day! Yes, they still need to get it done, but keep their feelings in mind too.
10. If battles are REALLY bad, talk to their teacher about it. Perhaps they are not understanding the concepts being taught in school? Maybe they are stressed out for another reason? Talk with their teacher and keep them in the loop with what you are experiencing at home.
Each grade that your child progresses through they will get more and more work and often want to do it less and less. Keeping organized, setting clear expectations, and listening to your child can help make those sessions less battle-worthy.