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How To Conquer The Homework Battle

Threatening, bribing and punishing are futile methods to use when attempting to get your child to do her homework. Let us be clear, most children do not like to sit down to do their homework after being at school all day. You cannot make your child do her homework or make her enjoy it. You can use methods that assist her to do her work. You can be positive, motivational and consistent. Read on for tips that will help you at least reduce the head-ache you may currently have battling with your child over homework.

First you need to accept that your child’s homework is her problem and not your own. If you see it as your problem you will be inclined to panic, scream, shout, threaten, bribe and create ultimatums which are not tactics that work. As a parent it is your job to provide a structure and an opportunity for your child to carry out her homework. It is your child’s job to utilise these opportunities to accomplish her own tasks.

During the homework battle, begin by substituting the word ‘homework’ with ‘study’. Have a consistent structure that means that at the same time every day the TV goes off, there is quiet time and your child is expected to study whether or not she has homework or not. You can discuss with your child when this study time is going to take place every day. It could be immediately after school, after dinner or first thing in the morning. The idea is to stick to the agreed time and implement it every school day. Even though they may initially buck and rear, children actually love structure and routine, it makes them feel safe. Be persistent, it may take a few weeks for the routine to become established. You can have a ten minute signal before study time begins so that your child can finish up her current activity and prepare for quiet study time.

Do not be tempted to solve problems for your child; just remember your job is to assist. Only help if your child asks you to. If you are faced with the ‘I cannot do it’ lament tell her to act as if she can. Tell her to pretend she knows how to do it and then step away and see what happens. If your child is persistent in her defeatism then rather than telling how to do it, ask her questions that encourages her to think for herself. Questions such as ‘which bits do you understand?’ or ‘how can you find out’ are more helpful than just giving her the answers.

Be encouraging and praising verbally rather than materially. To encourage your child’s willingness and interest in learning you need to make the right, positive, verbal affirmations rather than making promises of presents, sweets or money!

Assist your child in her time management and when she completes her study well and in good time praise her and emphasize how good she must feel learning something new and being able to hand in her work to her teacher on time. Help her realize how good it is to learn, how knowledge is power and that learning is a lifelong gift that she can achieve so much from.

By Eirian Hallinan

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