The distractions of life are all too tempting, it’s bad enough as an adult to work at home when there are far more interesting things to do in the next room. So imagine being a child forced to sit and work when you could be playing video games, watching TV, or playing outside. Their attention span is also likely to have diminished throughout the day at school as well, so try to be sympathetic and become a facilitator rather than a force to be reckoned with.
2. Learn to work round the ‘I can’t do it’ phase.
Most of the time, telling them they can do it won’t help, so there are a few things you could do so they believe they are capable. If they are staring into space, chances are they are low on energy so start by offering a small snack. If they are fidgety then they may have too much energy from sitting and learning at school all day, so you could do 30 minutes of exercise. Being active also improves the ability to focus and takes away from the dreamy state.
3. Segment Homework Time
After being at school all day, children aren’t likely to want to sit down for long periods of time and work. To ease them into a routine you could segment homework time in 15 minute slots, so if they work solidly for this time, they can earn themselves a break to do something they want. And after their break is up, it will be time to do their homework again.
4. Eliminate Sibling Distraction
Sibling distraction can cause your child to misbehave and not cooperate, they aren’t going to work if they can hear others playing outside or in the room next door. Try to find a quiet spot in the house away from distractions and exterior noise.
5. Discuss the Homework with Your Child
Start by asking your child how they would like to do their homework and at what time. If their favourite TV show is on at the time you are trying to get them to work then you may be fighting a losing battle. Come to a fair and appropriate compromise e.g. at the end of SpongeBob Squarepants it’s time to do homework. It is also important for you to be there to discuss what they are doing and always be present to help them if they are stuck.
6. Focus on the Positive
If you reward good behaviour and downplay poor work then children are more likely to be motivated to do well. If they know they are likely to be praised for working hard then that is far more motivational than the thought of being punished for not doing well. This approach also eliminates tension between you and you become a team rather than working against each other.
7. How to Deal with Refusal
You can try to motivate them by telling them how proud you would be if they manage to do their homework well even when they are finding it hard. If inspirational chats don’t work then you could explain to them the consequences or not doing homework, for example the teacher is likely to be unhappy with them and they don’t want to disappoint them as well.
Overall, as long as you provide support and maintain your presence through homework time, then the battle should become easier and you will learn what techniques work for you and your child.