Let’s face it, homework time can be a complete nightmare for both child and parent. The two of you probably just spent the entire day sitting at a desk (or taking care of the household for all of you stay-at-home folks), focusing on multiple subjects and using your brain for 6+ hours. And now you have to do it all again, but at home this time, when you’d honestly rather just relax.
You stare across the table at your kid and you can already see that defiant look in their eye. The “I don’t feel like it!” whine that’s just about to cross their lips and for some, the nightly struggle begins.
It’s enough to make a grown man (or woman!) cry. Well, and probably a few kids too.
Obviously the homework dilemma is not going anywhere soon, but you can make it easier on all involved. With these Homework Help tips, you might get a smile or two out of your little one and even a little enjoyment for yourself! Wait.. is that stretching it too far?
Sometimes treats and bribes aren’t necessarily a bad thing
In my own personal experience, math seems to be the most trying subject to get through in the evening. Our brains are pretty fried and focusing on numbers is the last thing we want to be doing. But if you make it fun and rewarding, your child just might be willing to do a little work! M&M’s, chocolate chips, grapes, goldfish crackers – any of these are great for counting. For every math problem they finish correctly (and most importantly, without a single whimper or whine) your child gets to eat the counting pieces. You could probably slip a few in for yourself too, and no one would be the wiser. Just saying.
Try breaking down homework time into chunks
Sometimes the “all or nothing” method is just too overwhelming.
So, take a…
Use a kitchen timer or stop watch on your smartphone and program 10-15 minutes worth of work time. When time is up stop for five minutes and focus on something else like having your child tell you a story about something that happened at school. Grab a light snack. Have them help you with a quick house chore like emptying the dishwasher… just kidding, but a mom can hope can’t she? Just note that it’s probably not wise to let them go off and watch t.v. or start up a video or computer game though. It will most likely be very difficult to pull them away once they are immersed in technology land! Do this start and stop system until the homework is completed.
Find a change of scenery
Sometimes it’s just the routine of sitting down at the table, pencil in hand and a text book in front of them that makes your child automatically find their UN-happy place. Mix it up once or twice a week and set up a small work station at your local coffee shop or ice cream locale. You could even offer to treat them to a hot chocolate or single scoop if your child is extra willing to complete their studies. I’ll leave that completely up to you!
Libraries are one of the most wonderful places on Earth. Truly. And unfortunately most people don’t even realize the resources that are waiting for them there. Most local libraries are full of tables to work at, computers to research with and of course, a plethora of knowledge within shelf after shelf of every type of book you can imagine. Some library branches also offer Homework Help services where volunteers will work with you and your child one-on-one. Seriously! Visit your area library or check them out online to see what services they have to offer. You’ll be so glad you did.
And last, but most importantly…
Routine, Routine, Routine
Routine. It’s one of those things that is such a booger to start and adapt to, but once you get it – life just becomes that much easier. I’ve learned this several times with my own kiddos and am finally reaping some of the rewards from our initial struggles. Creating a routine makes things a little simpler for everyone. So when it comes to homework, create your own routine. You could have the kids begin working as soon as they get home so that they can focus on other things throughout the evening. Or you could give them a specific time, say 30 minutes from when you arrive home, to get started. Whatever you feel most comfortable with and works best for your situation. Believe it or not, eventually your kids will come to do the routine you set forth on their own naturally. You may even start to notice pandemonium when their routine is disrupted! The old saying that children NEED routine couldn’t ring truer. If they know what to expect and what is expected of them, they will honestly feel more secure in their surroundings and daily life.
I hope that these tips help to ease your homework woes this school year and encourage your child to find the fun in their studies. And if all else fails, you can always just hope for tons of math homework so that you can chow down on “counted” m&m’s without guilt! Yeah… I’m stretching it again, aren’t I?