Getting kids do their homework

We all know most children dread doing their homework. But sometimes, the task can be just as frustrating for parents who have a hard time getting their kids to complete their assignments. However, it is important that you as an adult understand the benefits of homework before trying to convince your kids that it matters. Homework encourages continuous learning throughout the day. It also acts as a crucial thread, linking classroom learning to critical thinking practices outside the school. This instills a sense of discipline, time-management and patience – qualities that a child would otherwise not learn in the classroom environment.

Although there is no simple formula for getting your child to do their homework, there are several ways to encourage productive behaviour.

Create a space that encourages learning

Find a space within your home that works as an excellent venue for homework. Perhaps it’s an upstairs study or a small desk in the family room. Put up posters and inspirational sights to encourage free thinking and illustrate the importance of learning. This area should be free of televisions and video games, as they will only serve a distraction. Also, let your child know that this space is not only for “homework tasks”, but also a space to read, reflect, and enjoy some quiet time.

Establish a routine

Children are known to perform better when they have a daily routine. Establish a consistent time for doing homework. Ask your child if he/she would rather do homework as soon as they get home from school or after the family dinner. And then stick to that decision. Allocate an hour each day for study time and stand your ground even when kids protest. As much as children say they hate rules and routine, they tend to thrive on structure and the formation of good habits.

Give clear signals

It is important that you provide clear and predictable signals to your child that study time is approaching. Sound a five-minute warning by telling your child to turn off the TV and fetch their school books. Over time, this type of active warning serves as a concrete indication that it’s time to get down to business.

Be helpful, but don’t interfere

As a parent you may feel inclined to jump in and do your child’s homework when he/she is stuck on a problem. But, avoid being the hero as your child will never learn this way. Offer help only when he/she constructively asks for it. And help your child through the equation by asking questions, rather than outright giving away the answer.

Be an example

If you can, show your child that homework time is also a chance for you to get caught up on “homework” as well. For example, read a book, organize your bills, or prepare meeting notes for the office to show your child that you’re studying too.

Don’t bribe your children

Research has consistently shown that monetary bribes and special treats have only short-term benefits. These types of rewards don’t encourage a lifelong learning, nor will your child develop an interest in maintaining study habits. Reward your children with positive verbal communication instead. Compliment your child on his/her positive behaviours and ignore the ones that are destructive. In time, your child will strive for good habits when they realize how good it feels to be recognized and appreciated.

About the Author:

A teacher by profession, I enjoy my teaching days at the private elementary school in Toronto. I do not miss a single chance to spread the knowledge that I have acquired through years of experience. Contact me at

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