Inspire Your Child to Learn Without Nagging
We all remember homework. Some of us spent time in our rooms reading through pages, then couldn’t remember what was important enough to be on a test. Or, we worried about what the word “study” meant and panicked.
In today’s world, many children have so many distractions: after-school activities, the internet and those video games, to name a few.
The trick is to try to make that homework time an event. Even the youngest children will respond to a new desk to practice writing or do their math and spelling. If the space is inviting and comforting, concentration is simpler. Whether you stack their favorite stuffed animals around the area, or place a special treat on the table, they will begin to look forward to that time where they learn and do the best they can.
Try to identify whether the root of your child’s not wanting to do homework is motivational, or whether your child actually lacks the specific skills or abilities necessary to do the assignment. Assessing the issue will help you pinpoint the best response.
Set goals together calmly. Together, establish an age-appropriate reward system for completing a week of homework. A chart works nicely and provides visual documentation of the child’s progress.
Alternating study environments can result in deeper learning, as does varying both study routines and the content being studied. Variety forces the brain to make multiple associations with the same material. This means if your child must study at a game, a friend’s house, in the car or at the doctor’s office, so be it.
Be sure to help build confidence in your child by not only praising her abilities, but focusing on how hard she studied her spelling words and how that paid off with a good grade.
Sara Arbisi, a local third grade teacher, understands the challenge and says, “In today’s world it seems like you have to pull all the tricks out of the hat to get kids to sit down and do their homework. It is a fight between their video games and school work every day when they get home. The last thing parents want to do after a long day at work is to fight with their kids about their homework. The kids might say they don’t want to do it, but some say this because it might just be hard for them. They might just not understand it. This is when the parents need to try and put homework into a language their child will understand. They need to bring their child’s interests into it. If they like football, you can bring gaining or losing yards, scoring touchdowns, etc. If they like to bake, incorporate measurements and fractions into it. If parents took the time to sit down with their children and see their struggles, they could understand why they get frustrated or just don’t want to do their homework. Parents need to get to know their kids as both their child and a student.”
A good emphasis to make with teens is that short-term sacrifice leads to long-term gain. Your teen may need to stop doing certain activities and tasks and start implementing new strategies to achieve his dreams. Decide together whether he may need to let go of or spend less time on Netflix, Instagram or Twitter. Set a time, for example, between 5:00 and 8:00, to do homework. Consider having a Wi-Fi-free time at home or turn it off at 10:00. This allows your teen to switch off and sleep well. Discuss this together and compromise with him.
Remember, your job is to help your children learn how to be responsible. If you get negative and make this a moral issue, then your child might become defiant, reacting to you instead of thinking through things on his own.
Incorporate the “When You” rule, which means that we get the goodies after we do the work—one of life’s big lessons. When you practice shooting hoops every day, you start making more baskets. You get paid after you work at your job.
Begin saying things like, “When you finish studying you can go to Ben’s house.” Or
“When your homework is all done, we can discuss watching that movie you want to see on Netflix.”
The important thing to remember is you know your child better than anyone else, and together, you can enjoy the learning process. This positive outlook will assist the teacher in discovering your child’s unique way of learning, instilling a lifelong desire to keep learning—with no fear of homework!
An avid outdoors girl, Judy Goppert lives in Lee’s Summit and enjoys all seasons, especially summer. She enjoys drawing on her personal experiences to write about the nuances of everything wonderful about life.