By Gohar Aleem
W hen it comes to the moment when you need to sit down and do homework with your little ones, it can be quite distressing. And that is due to several reasons.What is it about homework that wears families out? Even newbie grade-schoolers, who love doing it at first, often lose their enthusiasm and start stalling. And after a long day, you just want your kiddo to knuckle down so you can get dinner on the table or start the bedtime routine. But it doesn’t happen so often. And sometimes you just need to work out a few strategies that will allow the homework to get done while the whole family’s sanity remains intact. So how does it work?
On days when there are no afternoon activities, give your child a time frame in which they need to be done with their work. This gives them some control over the schedule (some kids need a longer break after school, and others need to start right away to keep the momentum going). This also allows your child to work consistently through a timeframe and maintain discipline.
You should also aim towards building confidence. When kids don’t get something right away, they may feel like they’re not smart enough and start to shut down. You can short-circuit negative thinking by sitting down and figuring out the first problem together. That alone can help her remember how to do the rest. Then heap on the praise: “You did a great job on that one! Try the next one now.” Yes no matter what age your little one is, it really helps when you give them a boost by praising their efforts.
Often it isn’t the child. But the homework load can become too much too bear. In such cases, lighten it up. That’s right — you can make an executive decision to lighten your child’s load for a night if she doesn’t understand the assignment or the assignment is vague or touches on a topic she’s not ready for. It so happens your child is exhausted from a long day of school, gymnastics, and an argument with her best friend.
If your child is completely lost, you can excuse her entirely. In the other cases, shorten the assignment. And make sure you inform the teacher as well. Write to the teacher respecting them but suggesting the load is way too much for your kid and they need some more time to finish the complete assignment. Most teachers will be understanding if a student does this once in a while but if your child frequently fails to finish her assignments, there will probably be a consequence. So make sure you are keeping an eye out for a pattern which will be needing addressing.
Also something as simple as a special place to work can boost a child’s motivation and, in turn, his confidence. You need to make sure you are bringing out the best in your kids. And that works when you are aiming towards a setting that is allowing them to gain major learning goals while also allowing them to indulge in simple ways to keep their routine interesting and interactive.
What many parents also don’t get is that it is good exercise to allow children to vent when needed. This means when your routine is upended and your kid hasn’t even started his homework, ease frustration by letting him complain. Listen, empathize (“Wow, that is a lot of work”), and state his feelings back to him (“You sound upset”). Once your child feels understood, he’ll be more likely to accept your suggestions and better able to focus on what needs to be done. These minor strategies can really help in reaching great goals towards making the whole homework routine relatable and understandable.
Lastly, it is really important to keep on the positive comments coming in. Little kids need instant feedback, so it’s okay for parents of young grade-schoolers to correct mistakes. Then emphasize what your kid’s done well. After she’s finished, take her paper and say “Hmm, I’m looking for something . . .” After scanning it for a minute, say “Aha! Look how well you wrote your letters in this part!” or “This sentence is even better than the one you came up with yesterday!” If you praise specific improvements, your little learner will become more inclined to try to do a good job the first time around. These little elements really help to boost their self-confidence, allowing them to appreciate their own efforts. Which will also end up yielding great results in the long run. Just make sure you are not hooking onto just a single strategy. It really helps to mix things up and see what is working best for your family.