to Motivate Your Kids to Do Homework
(without having a nervous breakdown yourself)
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
of arguing, nagging and struggling with your kids to get them to
do homework? Are you discovering that bribing, threatening, and
punishing don't yield positive results? If so, this article is for
you. Here you will find the 3 laws of homework and 8 homework tips
that if implemented in your home with consistency and an open heart,
will reduce study time hassles significantly.
First Law of Homework: Most children do not like to do homework.
do not enjoy sitting and studying. At least, not after having spent
a long school day comprised mostly of sitting and studying. So give
up your desire to have them like it. Focus on getting them to do
Second Law of Homework: You cannot make anyone do it.
can not make your child learn. You cannot make him hold a certain
attitude. You cannot make him move his pencil.
you can not insist, you can assist. Concentrate on assisting by
sending positive invitations. Invite and encourage you child using
the ideas that follow.
Third Law of Homework: It's their Problem.
pencils have to move. Their brains need to engage. Their bottoms
need to be in the chair. It is their report cards that they bring
many parents see homework as the parent's problem. So they create
ultimatums, scream and shout, threaten, bribe, scold, and withhold
privileges. Have you noticed that most of these tactics do not work?
responsibility as parents is to provide our children with an opportunity
to do homework. Our job is to provide structure, to create the system.
The child's job is to use the system.
the word homework from your vocabulary. Replace it with the word
study. Have a study time instead of a homework time. Have a study
table instead of a homework table. This word change alone will go
a long way towards eliminating the problem of your child saying,
"I don't have any homework." Study time is about studying,
even if you don't have any homework. It's amazing how much more
homework kids have when they have to study regardless of whether
they have homework or not.
a study routine. This needs to be the same time every day. Let your
children have some input on when study time occurs. Once the time
is set, stick to that schedule. Kids thrive on structure even as
they protest. It may take several weeks for the routine to become
a habit. Persist. By having a regular study time you are demonstrating
that you value education.
the routine predictable and simple. One possibility includes a five
minute warning that study time is approaching, bringing their current
activity to an end, clearing the study table, emptying their back
pack of books and supplies, then beginning.
children to make choices about homework and related issues. They
could choose to do study time before or after dinner. They could
do it immediately after they get home or wake up early in the morning
to do it. Invite them to choose the kitchen table or a spot in their
own room. One choice children do not have is whether or not to study.
without over-functioning. Only help if your child asks for it. Do
not do problems or assignments for children.
your child says, "I can't do it, " suggest they act as
if they can. Tell them to pretend like they know and see what happens.
Then leave the immediate area and let them see if they can handle
it from there. If they keep telling you they don't know how and
you decide to offer help, concentrate on asking than on telling.
do you get?"
"What parts do you understand?"
"Can you give me an example?"
"What do you think the answer is?"
"How could you find out?"
you want a behavior you have to teach a behavior. Disorganization
is a problem for many school age children. If you want them to be
organized you have to invest the time to help them learn an organizational
system. Your job is to teach them the system. Their job is to use
it. Yes, check occasionally to see if the system is being used.
Check more often at first. Provide direction and correction where
your child needs help with time management, teach them time management
skills. Help them learn what it means to prioritize by the importance
and due date of each task. Teach them to create an agenda each time
they sit down to study. Help them experience the value of getting
the important things done first.
monetary and external rewards with encouraging verbal responses.
End the practice of paying for grades and going on a special trip
for ice cream. This style of bribery has only short term gains and
does little to encourage children to develop a lifetime love of
make positive verbal comments that concentrate on describing the
behavior you wish to encourage.
followed the directions exactly and finished in 15 minutes."
notice you stayed up late last night working on your term paper.
It probably wasn't easy saving that much to the end, but your efforts
got it done."
your letters are right between the lines. I'll bet your teacher
won't have any trouble reading this."
see you got the study table all organized and ready to go early.
Looks like initiative and responsibility hooked together to me."
study time to get some of your own responsibilities handled. Do
the dishes, fold laundry, or write thank you notes. Keep the TV
off! If you engage in fun or noisy activities during that time children
will naturally be distracted. Study time is a family commitment.
If you won't commit to it, don't expect that you children will.
Note: tonight when your child is studying, begin on your homework
assignment, which follows. Reread this article. Decide which parts
of it you want to implement. Determine when you will begin. Put
it in writing. Then congratulate yourself for getting your homework
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of "The 10
Commitments: Parenting with Purpose," to be released in November
and "Couple Talk: How to Talk Your Way to a Great Relationship"
(available from Personal Power Press at (toll-free) 877-360-1477).
They also publish FREE email newsletters, one for parents and another
for couples. Subscribe to one or both at firstname.lastname@example.org.