How To Get Your Kids to Do Their Homework
Without A Fuss
by Susie E. Caron (c) 11/15/2014
Getting kids to do their homework is difficult and often causes unnecessary arguing and tension. There is a way to prevent all that. By implementing a routine pattern that works, you will stop the arguing and get some added benefits. Before I tell you the pattern, I want to ask you some questions. Next, I'll tell you how to set up a homework routine that works. Finally, l'll list some additional benefits.
Why do your children have homework?
Perhaps there is not enough time being provided in school for their lessons to be completed? Or, maybe your child needs more practice to master a subject. Are your older kids not using their study halls and after school study groups to get their homework done? It's important for you to know what the reasons are that cause homework to come home. Sometimes addressing this issue reduces the problem significantly.
Why do your kids argue and struggle with you about doing their homework?
Does it seem that your children would rather get into an angry struggle with you, than to complete their assignments? (Any attention is 'attention' after all.) When your kids argue, bargain, and get lots of negative attention, they also often get away with not completing their homework. It's important for your to think about how your kids may be feeling 'benefited' when they fight with you. Do they get more attention than their siblings? Or, do they benefit by getting away with just not doing it?
Whose job really is it anyway?
In order to carry out this new plan, you have to really get clear on who's job it is. The responsibility belongs to your children. Just like your job, or career, and household chores are your responsibility, their homework is theirs. They must bring their homework home, and do their homework, even if you need to help a little. Your attitude must be crystal clear in your mind. If not, your children will realize that you are waffling. This uncertainty on your part could be because you feel sorry for them for having nasty homework at all, or you are uncertain that you can really 'make them' do it anyway. Any feeling that makes you uncertain in your attitude can cause your children to fight you. They won't want to do it. They won't do it and they will believe that you need to take the responsibility for making them do it. If you 'take on the responsibility' for their homework, they will let you, and they will come to expect it into the future.
What's the answer to this and how do you get your kids to do their homework without a fuss?
First, take the attitude that it is your child's job, and deliver that by being more matter of fact in your words. For example you can say something like," It's your job to do your own homework. I can help but there is a limit to what I will do and a there is also a time limit for how long I will sit here to help you. So get it done well and quickly. Then I will check it, and if it's completed you can go and do something you like to do."
Second, Choose a time for your kids to do their homework. There are two prime times that work well: Right after dinner, or right after school. Set up a time and stick with it, except when activities or events require homework to be completed at the alternate time. My neighbor insisted her kids did theirs right after school, before they could go out and play, or watch TV or do anything. She had a snack ready and they ate while they worked. I chose to use after dinner. My husband liked to watch the news, I didn't. So after the table was cleared my kids and I sat together at the table and they did their homework before they could play. I usually read or worked on a project at the table while they completed their assignments. I stayed there to assist, but homework was their duty. Either time works if you make sure they can have some free time or fun after the homework is completed to your satisfaction.
NOTE: If sitting there with your kids causes more problems than you'd like, tell them you will only stay with them, if they work to get it finished. If they argue or whine, you can leave them at the table and go to a different room until they finish.
While I cannot promise that setting up a new pattern will be immediately 'fuss free', if you stick to it, you will see results. When you establish a clear expectation along with a predictable pattern for attacking homework, you will also find your kids will accept this responsibility as their own. When you say what you mean, and mean what you say, and carry your words out into actions, your kids will also trust you more. Your relationship with them will improve and you will be able to have more time and energy to have fun with them. If your kids are just beginning school, you are in luck, because the sooner you begin this practice the better. However, it is never too late to start. Kids who learn to tackle their homework in this way, also find it easier to do it all by themselves as they grow up. This means, you won't need to sit with with them in High School. (Unless, of course, their grades start to drop and then guess what? Sit their butts down and reinstate the pattern!)
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!