Accept it: back-to-school is here. A new school year is around the corner. And most likely, the last thing that your kids want to think about is homework! But, what if you could make doing homework time more fun for them (and you)? With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can create a better homework experience so you both can enjoy school nights without struggles.
Make a house rule that all TVs are a no-no during homework time. A television set that is on (even if just in the background with your novela) will distract kids and experts agree that it impairs focus and the learning process. Instead, save the cartoons or novela for those lazy Sunday mornings when you can watch on-demand.
Create A Space
Something as simple as a special place to work can boost a child’s motivation and his confidence. Help motivate your kids to tackle their homework head-on by setting up a homework station where they actually want to be.
“The kind of environment kids need differs at every grade level,” says Marilyn Price-Mitchell, co-founder of the National ParentNet Association. “But making sure children have strategies to help them learn at home is what’s most important for kids’ success.”
Mix It Up
Younger children usually don’t like to do homework because – let’s face it – it’s usually boring! Make homework fun by turning it into a game or incorporating rewards. For example, make math problems more visual with jellybeans or M+Ms and let your child keep what they solve correctly.
Give Them A Break
For active kids, a physical break after each assignment is done is a great reward and will keep the brain pumping. Think a five-minute freeze dance, ten jumping jacks or running in place. Join and get a mini workout for you, too! If these options are no appealing, just let them rest however they please with a timer on so they know each break is just for a few minutes.
Know what motivates your child and reward them for completing their work with a little fun time. Maybe that’s an impromptu trip to the park, letting them watch 20 minutes of TV, or playing games on the iPad. Just make sure your child grasps the big picture of what good grades mean for his future, so you don’t fall into a reward trap where your child solely studies as a way to earn treats.
It’s easy to lose patience when you’re working with small children, especially during homework time and after a very long day at work. When you sense yourself losing patience, have a mantra or routine that you can use to immediately diffuse your frustration. Count backwards, take a break, talk it out, laugh — whatever is appropriate and easy. The more you consciously practice homework time patience, the more patience you will have!