Homework Battles

by Jennifer Dryden

Homework can often be a source of conflict in many households.  Kids often want to play outside, watch TV, or play video games.  Although we may not be able to make homework as intriguing as these activities, listed below are some tips from Dr. Charles Fay’s book, Hope for Underachieving Kids, that can help us foster a love for learning in our children and conquer the homework battle!

  1. Each afternoon or night, set aside a time and place for homework.  If the child doesn’t have homework, this time can be used for reading.
  2. Offer choices.  Research shows that children are more likely to comply with homework demands when they are given small choices concerning their homework.  Some examples might be:  Would you like to do your homework first, or have a snack first?  or…  Which subject would you like to work on first?  Math or language?
  3. Help your child when he wants your help.  Your child’s desire to do his work alone is a very healthy sign of independence and responsibility.
  4. Spend more time pointing out what your child did right!  Don’t focus just on what is wrong.
  5. Help only as long as this time is free of conflict.  If conflict starts brewing and arguing begins, back away.  A parent might say, “I love you too much to help if it means we are going to argue.  I know this is really hard.  Good luck.”
  6. Help only as long as your child is doing most of the work. Remember that this is the child’s homework!  Each time a child achieves something difficult on his own, his self concept soars, and he is better prepared for handling the challenges of the real world on his own.