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You may get as frustrated with homework as your children do, and it’s sometimes hard to know how much help is appropriate and how much you should back off from helping your child with their homework. To help your children take responsibility for their homework, here are some tips to try.
1. Establish a Routine Involve your child in establishing a routine for homework. Your child may not know exactly what works for them at first; there may need to be some trial and error. First, decide when homework will be done. Right after school? After a snack and a bit of play time? Right after dinner? Whatever you choose, try to make it consistent. Doing homework at the same time every day can help with motivation and memory. When you work out a homework routine with your child, take their learning style, temperament, and needs into consideration. Be flexible and open to your child’s style of learning. As long as the homework is getting done in a reasonable amount of time and is done well, there’s no need to worry about having the “right” routine.
2. A Place to Call His or Her Own Establishing a homework location is as important as establishing a time. Again, this need not follow rigid guidelines; watch your child and talk to them about how they function best. Alone? With an adult present? With music? In silence? There will be some trial and error here too, no doubt – your child may think they concentrate great working along with music, but if their homework isn’t getting done, you’ll have to re-think this.
3. Homework Schedule Help your child work out a homework schedule. At first, you’ll probably need to guide them through this. Go through their assignments and work out a timetable. How long do they estimate each assignment will take? How many assignments are there? How much time is there before dinner or bed? Show them how to break up their assignments – which may seem overwhelming, but is totally doable – into a list. Allow them to do more and more of the scheduling each time until they’re doing it on their own. It’s okay to take breaks. Some children prefer frequent breaks and others like to get it all done at once. As long as the breaks are scheduled in and not too frequent, they can actually help your child complete their tasks.
4. Rewards and Incentives Sometimes rewards and incentives can really help. Getting a good grade can seem like a vague goal, especially to younger children. Your child may need small rewards throughout the homework session or they may be fine with a weekly or once daily reward. Older children can shoot for a monthly goal and reward. Regardless of how long your child goes in earning their reward, experts say that a system of points tends to work best. Establish a point system where each task is worth a certain amount of points. Your child can periodically “cash in” the points for privileges. You can use play money, too, for younger kids.
Culled from an article by Robert Myers PhD.
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