When your child doesn’t want to do their homework, it can be tempting to nag and hassle them. Things can get quite worked up and it can start to feel like a never-ending cycle of conflict. But there is a way out of this cycle. The key is to gradually put some structure in place and then guide your child without taking away their opportunity to learn for themselves.
Benefits of homework
Homework can help your child practise the skills they are learning at school and learn time management and organisational skills. Homework also gives you the chance to see what your child is learning about at school. When you show interest in your child’s homework, you are letting your child know that you value learning and education.
Establish a routine
A big part of encouraging your child to do their homework is to make it a regular part of home life. Work out the best time for them to do their homework, stick with it, and make it part of their daily or weekly routine. Routines bring structure and predictability to a child’s world and can help them feel less anxious. Make sure your child has had something to eat, is not too tired, and has a quiet space to work in. For older kids, encourage them to put their phone out of sight so they are not distracted.
Connect with the school
Teachers will advise homework via the Student Diary, Boomerang Book or email.
Help them get organised
- Encourage them to break down their homework into manageable tasks and do the bit they feel comfortable with first so they can get a little win before tackling the rest. It doesn’t matter if they don’t get it all done; just doing some of it will show their teacher that they tried and indicate where they might need more help at school.
- Suggest they use a homework planner, a white board calendar, or study app to help them keep track of everything they need to do.
- Encourage them to make a to-do list of their tasks so they can check them off as they complete them.
- Help them work out milestones (like submitting an assignment) and celebrate when they achieve them.
Help your child maintain their concentration by taking regular breaks. Every child is different and will be able to concentrate for different lengths of time, so encourage your child to adopt a routine that works for them. Such a routine could involve 30 minutes homework followed by ten minutes down time when they can go for a walk or have a snack. Avoid screen time in the breaks and encourage your child to move around. Research has found that physical activity during study provides the brain with the oxygen-rich blood needed for higher performance and can improve your child’s alertness, attention and motivation.
Model learning behaviour
If your child has a problem they can’t work out, offer some suggestions, or encourage them to ask their teacher. Don’t do it for them, but explain the questions you would ask. What matters more is supporting them, letting them know you value homework as a way for them to learn and become more independent, and talking to their teacher to seek help when they need it.
Believe in them
Let your child know you believe in them and praise them when they do the right thing, however small. It’s important to reward effort, not just results. Celebrate little wins such as getting homework done early, or completing a task without reminding.
(adapted from https://www.sparktheirfuture.qld.edu.au/homework/)