Do you struggle to motivate your children to get the homework done every night? Does getting homework done feel like a battle of the wills between Iron Man and Thanos every night?
My children don’t like to do their homework, either. They have more reasons and excuses for not completing homework after school than I could imagine.
When moms yell at their kids to get homework done, afternoons and evenings are no fun. Some days you might prefer to back to work.
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How do you get your child to do their homework without fighting?
If you find yourself in a power struggle with your child every day after school trying to get homework done, here are some ideas to complete the homework without fighting:
- Give them a break after school, then do the homework
- Work for short time spans of focused work then have a short break
- For children that like to move (i.e. cannot sit still), it’s okay to let them stand up to complete their homework or assignments
- Break larger tasks or assignments into smaller parts
- Give your child some control
- Offer a reward
- Complete homework in the morning before school
- Have a homework routine
1. Give them a break immediately after school, then do the homework
Finishing homework right after school seems like the best option. This way school work is done and kids and family can enjoy the rest of the evening. But… kids don’t usually want to focus on homework right after school.
Start with a short break. Maybe get a drink and a healthy snack. School lunchtimes tend to be early around 11:00 am. Active kids are hungry after school.
If you have time, let them rest for 1 hour after school. If not, allow as much time as you can.
Then come back and start working on the homework assignments.
2. Work in short time spans of focused work
After a long day of sitting still and focusing on school work all day, many kids have a hard time being still and focusing to do homework, too.
Depending on your child’s age and abilities, set timers for 5-15 minutes of focused work. Do as much as you can during this time. Try to get your child to work quickly but accurately and neatly.
When the timer goes off, give them a short break. For younger kids, a 2-3 minute break will probably be fine. For older kids, if they are focusing longer (like 20-30 minutes), a 5-10 minute break.
This only works if your child is motivated and getting work done during the focused work time. If not, you will just be frustrated and homework will take all night with all the breaks.
3. For children that like to move (i.e. cannot sit still), it’s okay to let them stand up to complete their homework or assignments
Who says you have to sit to do your school work?
If you have an active child, let them stand up and work. Get them a standing desk if it helps.
Let me kids move. Kids have lots of energy. They need to be able to move. For some kids, they can learn and remember information better when they move.
4. Break larger tasks or assignments into smaller parts
We’ve all done it. We can all probably remember assignments in school where the teacher gave us 2-3 weeks to complete a project and we waited until the last day to do all the work. Last minute scrambles don’t produce great work and cause lots of stress.
One of my children’s teachers sent instructions for a project last year that said no late assignments would be accepted. Period. If you run out of printer ink, too bad. You couldn’t email the paper either. It’s important kids know these requirements and follow them carefully so they don’t lose valuable points on their papers.
Kids tend to be procrastinators. Either they avoid work they don’t want to do or they don’t know how to manage it.
Help them learn how to manage large and challenging projects by breaking those assignments into smaller assignments and due dates.
Encourage them to get started early. Don’t wait until the last day to start projects.
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5. Give your child some control
I like to give assignments order and define what needs to be done each day. One of my kids has a different way of working. She would rather do all the things she doesn’t like on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and focus on things she does like on Tuesday and Thursday.
To help her enjoy her schoolwork more, I try to give her more control over her work. If she’s getting it done by the due dates and the work is done well then I let her do it her way.
Giving her a little control within my overall guidance makes her happy and gives her a better attitude about doing her work.
6. Offer a reward
Some kids need a reward to get their homework done.
Offer your children a small reward if they will complete all their homework without a fuss or struggle. You can offer to play their favorite game or watch their favorite show with them (just make sure you have time to play the game or watch the TV show when homework is done).
You could offer extra screentime for finishing their homework.
Find the right motivator for your kids and offer a reward for good work and getting done on time.
7. Complete homework in the morning before school
If getting homework in the afternoon or evenings isn’t working, try doing homework in the mornings before school.
My oldest would get so tired of doing school work and he would lose focus altogether. On these days, he would get up a little early before school and finish.
Some kids might not go to school until later (the middle school kids in our area don’t start school till 9:00 am). If school starts later, it’s not so hard to get up a little earlier to finish homework.
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8. Have a homework routine
Routines make our days easier. Routines give our kids an expectation. They know we expect homework to be done after school or in the evening after dinner.
Have a set time every day for homework. It’s hard for kids to argue and put off doing the work when you have a set time every day. When they fuss or complain, you can say, “Homework time is always after dinner and it’s after dinner now, let’s get started.”
When you don’t have a consistent routine for homework, kids will always try to find another time to do it. They will ask to put it off until after a TV show, after they play outside or after dinner. Then they will have more excuses. Don’t accept these challenges.
Have a set time for homework. Get it done so you can enjoy the evening with your family.
Homework wars are real. I have been through them. Yes, some days are still a battle of the wills to get school work done. Don’t give up the fight. You are the mom.
Remember, all children are different. Frequently it’s trial and error to find methods that work best with each of your children and get them motivated to get their homework done.
It’s always a win if homework is done, you haven’t yelled, and no one is crying when homework is finished.
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