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Take the Hassle Out of Homework: 6 Ways to Help Your Child

Sep 06, 2018
image of a girl doing homework looking frustrated

It’s no surprise that most children don’t like doing homework. After a long day of sitting, listening and learning, it’s the last thing kids want to do. However, homework is important, and provides countless benefits like improved comprehension, cognition and memory. So, how can you encourage your child to do their homework without a nightly battle? Check out these six tips to take the hassle out of homework:

Create a Quiet Space.

Let your child choose a quiet place to do their homework. This could be a kitchen table or an office desk. Make sure TVs, music and other distractions are turned off. Homework time should be technology-free, meaning no cell phones or screens. If you have multiple school-aged children, separating them can also help keep distractions to a minimum.

Make a Routine.

Creating a simple routine can help your child stay organized and finish their homework. Whether it’s right when they get home from school, or after eating dinner, let your child choose a regular time to study each night. You can help by giving a 10 minute reminder before homework time begins. You can also help your child clean off the table, empty their book bag and gather the necessary supplies. Eventually, this routine will become a habit and your child will prepare for homework time on their own.

Lead by Example.

What chores or projects do you have to do? Maybe it’s folding laundry, washing dishes, working in the garden, reading a book or researching for your next family trip. Be a model of hard work and persistence by making a routine for yourself, too. Working on your personal projects while your child does homework is a great way to be productive and keep the house quiet and distraction-free. It can also help eliminate FOMO (fear of missing out) on fun activities.

Praise Rather Than Reward.

Do not bribe your child to do homework. This method only guarantees short-term results and will fail to teach the importance of learning. Instead, praise your child for the behavior you want to encourage. Tell them how proud you are when they are proactive, organized and hard working. Positive reinforcement can help instill these values and behaviors for life. Some examples include:

“Look how responsible you are, getting your study table organized and ready to go 15 minutes early!”

“You followed the directions so well. I’m proud of you for taking your time and checking your work.”

"All of your letters are right between the lines. I bet your teacher won't have any trouble reading this."

Make It Your Child’s Responsibility.

As a parent, it’s your job to provide the system and tools your child needs to complete their homework. It’s your child’s responsibility, however, to use them. If you find yourself arguing about homework on a regular basis, it may be time to step back and let your child take ownership of his or her work. Give them the opportunity to be self-motivated and concerned about their own grades. It is their report card at the end of the day. Providing guidance and encouragement is important, but don’t prevent your child from feeling the real life consequences of bad choices.

Provide Guidance, Not Answers.

Homework is supposed to be challenging at times. If your child says “I can’t do it,” respond by saying, “Act like you can.” Tell your child to take a deep breath, collect their thoughts and find the confidence to figure it out on their own. Your goal should be to help them help themselves. If they continue to struggle, you can help by asking questions such as:

“What do you understand?”

“What do you think the answer might be?”

“How can you find out?”

If your child continues to struggle with their homework, Children’s Advocacy Project 4 Kids (CAP4Kids) has a list of local tutoring and homework help resources for your family at CAP4Kids.orgColumbus.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Emily Decker, MD
Primary Care Pediatrics

Dr. Emily is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a strong interest in child advocacy, and serves as the medical director for CAP4Kids Columbus.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.