Doing homework with your child can be stressful. When they come home from school, they may just want to relax, play games, and hang out with friends or family. But homework time doesn’t have to be a nag.
Use these tips to motivate your child to do homework and make it a better experience for both you, and them.
Children and Motivation
It’s been found that children are most motivated when they are able to use self-determination and take part in tasks they find meaningful to them. When they have at least some authority to decide what tasks are completed or how they are completed, they’re more likely to be engaged.
This is also known as intrinsic motivation. Try these tips on how to create a fun and enjoyable homework experience and motivate your child.
Be involved and engaged
It will be more difficult for your child to be involved and engaged in their work if you aren’t. During this time of helping with homework, try to be focused and connected with the work. Try asking your child questions about the problems, or see if they remember learning it in school.
This will help you also gauge how well your child understands the topic.
Give praise and encouragement
Your child may see homework as challenging and unpleasant. They may also have low confidence in completing it correctly. Give them praise when they get the answer correct and encourage them as they move along and make small progress or steps in their homework.
Here are some examples of praise and encouragement:
- You’re almost there, I know you can do it.
- Wow, you’re so smart.
- I know this is challenging for you, but you can do this.
- That was a tough one, nice job!
Create a plan for when discouragement sets in
When your child gets discouraged during homework time (whether it’s because they find it challenging, or boring) it can be difficult to keep going. Create a plan when your child starts crying about homework or feels discouraged.
The plan might look like this:
- Talk about it
- Take a break
- Eat a snack
- Come back to the problem
Create a homework zone
Try creating a designated zone where your child completes their homework. This way, they know that this space is for homework, and they are in the right headspace when it’s time to complete it.
Take breaks when needed
We all need a break when working on something challenging. Encourage your child to take breaks when necessary.
Try to communicate the breaks with your child before getting started. For example, they can take a 10-minute break after completing their math homework. When they come back, they will complete their science homework.
Use technology when appropriate
Like most things, technology has a time and place. If your child is old enough, using technology can be helpful and beneficial during homework time. For example, if your child has to write a paper, they may need a computer to research and type it. They also might need to refer to notes from their teacher or watch a video.
Make it a fun and positive experience
Homework doesn’t have to drag. Make it fun and positive for both you and your child.
Here are some ways to make it fun:
- Have a snack
- Have a friend over to do it together
- Do it outside
- Turn it into a game
- Play music
Avoid nagging, forcing, and bribing
If you have to turn to nagging, forcing, or bribing your child, it’s probably time to take a break from the homework.
Motivation has to come from the child, in order to complete homework. Therefore, you forcing them to do it will only end in a negative way.
It’s important to make homework an enjoyable experience; this will partly encourage your child to do it willingly. However, children need to find motivation within themselves, so it’s helpful to have a parent supporting them.