Before it turns into a battle of wills - and even tears - try these tips to keep the peace in your household! Everyone in the family had a busy day. Maybe it was at school learning and working hard. Maybe it was at work doing what you love or what needs to be done. Maybe it was endless errands that leave you feeling like you spent the whole day in the car.
No matter how you spent the busy day, now everyone is home and ready to relax, but there’s that pesky homework to take care of. Before it turns into a battle of wills - and even tears - try these tips to keep the peace in your household:
1. Be present. I know this is hard. We have so much to do, and we multitask. Dinner is not going to cook itself, right? Multitasking, however, may be causing more stress and mistakes.
The more present we can be, the more quickly things seem to get accomplished. If your child struggles with homework, your availability can make a big difference, allowing you to answer your child’s questions before their frustration takes over.
2. Side-by-side reading. Many kids have reading time as part of their homework. Show kids that reading is a priority by making that time family reading time. Everyone in the household can participate.
Grab something for yourself and sit down and read. It can be the novel collecting dust on your nightstand, the newspaper, or an informative magazine. Even something for work could count, as long as it is dedicated reading time. (And, no, social media doesn’t count.) Even little kids can sit with a stack of books to look through. Modeling good reading habits goes a long way in teaching kids that reading is a good part of everyone’s life.
3. Know what makes your child tick. Some parents insist their kids do their homework right after they get home from school because they think it is the best way for kids to get it done each night. While this ensures a less tired child, doing homework right after school may not work for every kid.
Some kids need time to decompress from a busy school day. You may find that a half-hour for snack and playing outside works wonders before beginning homework. Try out some different time for scheduled homework and see what works best for each child in your family. Once you find what works best for each, try to make it consistent.
4. Wave the white flag. Sometimes you just need to surrender. There are days that feel overwhelming and the homework is just too much for your child. While it is important to teach responsibility to our kids, we also need to be able to recognize when something is truly too difficult for a child to work on independently. Struggling with a particular subject often indicates that more instruction is needed in the classroom before the child can do the homework without support at home.
Instead of forcing a truly difficult task on your child, talk about the situation with your child and make a note for the teacher that the homework was exceptionally hard for them. This is not an excuse for your child not wanting to complete their homework. Most teachers would much rather know that a student is struggling with their homework at home than have a child in tears over their work or, even worse, a parent complete the assignment for the child.
Homework is an opportunity to practice things learned in class and provide feedback for the teacher about how much of a concept a child grasps. Teachers have no desire to know that a parent is capable of completing that math worksheet. Open communication with the teacher, parent, and child makes homework a much better experience for everyone.
Rebecca is a former teacher who is passionate about authenticity, faith, and family. She writes regularly at myinkdance.com, has been featured on sites such as The Washington Post and Scary Mommy, and her books are available on Amazon.
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