Tips For Helping Them With Homework: Make Your Child Successful With These Strategies

Ask children and teenagers their least favorite aspect of school, and sometimes the response is: doing homework.

Some feel that completing assignments after the school day is finished is an onerous task, one they approach with little enthusiasm. Many would rather spend time catching up with friends, or browsing their social media accounts. As their parent, it is up to you to create an environment in which they are able to do their homework successfully, and we have some suggestions that will help. Employ these tips, and soon your child or teenager will start getting all their homework completed, perhaps even ahead of schedule!

1. Create an environment conducive to work.

That means a desk and chair that are comfortable, but not too comfortable; after all, the goal is focus, not relaxation! Be sure they have all the supplies they need, too, like paper, pens, a reliable connection to the Internet and a laptop. Access to a printer is important too, and so is good lighting.When working with little ones try setting up a homework area to look similar to their classroom. Try adding some positive quotes, and scholastic posters on the wall, or maybe set-up a learning game they often use at school.

2. Be there to help, but don’t do the work for them.

It’s tempting for some parents who are, for example, skilled at math (maybe mom is an accountant?) to take over and complete the math problems themselves. Resist! It’s important that your child learns how to do homework on their own; after all, you won’t be beside them at college, right? Think of yourself as a helper, but not a stand in, and you’ll know when to step in and when to back off.

3. Demonstrate how homework applies in life.

Let’s continue with our previous example of a mom who has her own accounting firm. That success demonstrates to their child that learning math, calculus and other related subjects has real world applications in her career. The same is true for lots of other homework assignments. Excellent communication skills apply to virtually all careers. Sciences are crucial for a child who wants to go into medicine or environmental work. No matter what subject your child is tackling in their homework, it is relevant to a professional field of some kind.

4. Remove distractions from their work space.

Trying to write an essay while the television is on is a no-win situation. If distractions abound, your child’s focus and the quality of the work produced are both greatly diminished. Ask them to put down their phone while they work, unless they need it to do research, but not respond to texts from a best friend until their homework is finished.

5. Reward effort, more so than actual grades.

Of course a grade of A+ is wonderful, but if your child works hard, concentrates and gets the work done on time and brings home a C- on a paper, there is still cause for celebration. That’s because hard work is what parents should reward, not solely the grade. A particular subject may present lots of challenges to a child, but if they put in a lot of effort, they should still be congratulated.

6. Set an example by enjoying learning.

Talk about your own experiences at school, about how much fun you had and all the good times you enjoyed. Talk about the work, too, in the context of it being a terrific challenge that equipped you for adulthood and your profession. And show your child how you have continued learning even today, long after you graduated from college or university. Show them that you are also teachable. Are you a big reader? Do you consume a variety of media from credible sources? These are excellent ways of showing your child that learning is an ongoing, never ending process a parent continues throughout life in order to keep developing their mind and critical thinking skills. The more learning you engage in, the more your child will see it as a positive endeavor that brings fulfillment and satisfaction.

7. When they are working, let them take breaks if needed.

It is hard for anyone to work for three or four hours straight without getting up, stretching, and perhaps getting a cold drink. Your child or teen has a lot on their academic plate, and insisting they stay at their desk until it’s all completed is counterproductive. A 15-minute pause allows them to take their mind off the work at hand, and then get back to it with fresh eyes and renewed energy. For a little one allow them to pause for a fun educational game of their choice or to do a 5-minute stretch break.

8. If you have more than one child, don’t compare their skills!

Sometimes parents fall prey to judging one sibling’s performance at school to that of an older child. For example, just because the eldest got terrific grades in math or English grammar does not mean the child following them in high school will get straight As too.  Emphasize the strengths of each one, but don’t pit them against each other academically. Doing so will disengage the weaker child from their schoolwork, meaning they will dread doing homework if they feel they are in the shadow of a sibling who excelled.

Homework does not have to be a contest of wills, with anxious parents hovering on one side, and an unenthusiastic child or teen on the other. If you set a good example, create an environment that is conducive to learning, and praise them for all the hard work they do, chances are your child will come around and start finding satisfaction in homework. Remember how good it felt when a teacher gave you back an assignment with a large “A” in blue ink? That’s the feeling your child can have too, once you adopt the right attitude and give them lots of support for them to be successful.