How Parents Can Stop Doing Homework for Their Kids and Not Lose Their Mind
The school year has only been in full swing for a short time and many parents have already gotten tired of it. All because, apart from their work tasks and tasks at home, most parents take responsibility for their kids’ homework and it can be really tiring. How can parents finally fully delegate studies to their kids and stop having to look over them regularly? Our article is going to give you some helpful advice.
Very often, parents are the ones who look forward to the end of their kids’ school year more than the kids themselves. Bright Side is sure that it is possible to avoid this situation and we’ve found the answer to the question, “How do I make the school routine easier?”
1. Don’t do your kid’s homework.
Parents shouldn’t assume responsibility for their kid’s school studies. It’s much easier to develop the habit of learning at 7 years old rather than at 12. The parental role comes down to guidance and support. If the task is too complicated, parents can help their child figure out the task, but that doesn’t mean doing it for them. Show your child how to pack their backpack properly and how to do certain tasks in reference to their homework, but not more than this.
If you are checking homework and see a mistake, have your child correct it by themselves and don’t give them the answers. After some time, homework checking can be minimized to just checking to see if the homework was done — if there were 4 exercises to be done, there should be 4 exercises done. The kid will make mistakes with this approach but that’s the only way to build a sense of responsibility in them. It will make their grades real and not artificial.
2. Teach the child to learn.
First sets of homework can confuse a child: where do they even start? Parents should teach their children how to do their homework correctly. Explain to your child why it’s necessary to perform tasks in a certain order, tell them the consequences and rewards of following directions. You can even write down the necessary steps in the correct order and place a small reminder over their desk.
All the child will be left to do after this is to follow a few steps. Direct your child’s attention to the fact that an exercise should be completed to the end. Teach your kid to use literature and encyclopedias. They are better helpers than the internet because they help them to find the necessary information easily without getting distracted by unnecessary stuff.
3. Organize their work space correctly.
The place where a child does their homework affects their productivity greatly. Organize their study zone so that they have enough light and can easily reach all the necessary supplies. Also, take away all unnecessary items so that they don’t get distracted. Sort out their workbooks, books, and materials and place them in order — this will help them find the needed information easier. If there are younger brothers and sisters in the family, make sure they don’t interrupt the child while they’re doing their homework.
4. Teach the child to be mindful of the time.
Very often, kids don’t have any concept of time — they don’t know how much time has passed and how much is left. An ordinary alarm clock or hourglass can help solve this issue. At first, try to measure with your child how much time routine things take, like watching a cartoon, eating, organizing a room, or doing math homework. You will be able to easily explain to your child that doing homework will take as much time as, for example, taking the dog for a walk.
Set the alarm clock before starting to do homework. It will set the child up in work mode and help them not delay the process. The more time a kid spends on their homework, the lower their efficiency is. The optimal time to perform homework in high school is no more than 2 hours, and in elementary school, it should be no more than 30 minutes. After this period, it becomes very difficult for kids to concentrate.
5. Teach your kid to set their priorities.
Teach your kid to outline the most important things in order to ease the learning process, and life in general. For example, it’s important to be able to assess the following things when doing homework:
- The volume of homework, how much of it is understandable, and how much is not;
- Which tasks will take more time and which will take less time;
- Which tasks a kid can perform themselves and which will require help.
If you teach your kid to do this, it will be easier for them to navigate quickly through tasks they can do themselves, tasks they can look up in an encyclopedia, and tasks they can ask their parents for help with later. It will also help kids during tests and exams. It can prevent them from spending all their time on the most complicated tasks because they will leave those for the end.
6. Motivate your kid.
Praise your child for their effort and good grades more often — don’t take them for granted. You can use a motivation board for elementary school kids. Write down tasks on a piece of paper (“make the bed,” “do homework,” “take out trash”) and the days of the week opposite each task. Put a plus sign for each fulfilled task. At the end of each week, provide a good reward for your kid like going to the cinema or a skating rink with the whole family.
Or you can use another method for motivating: “You do your homework and we will go for a walk, get ice cream, or watch a movie together.” Try to also show your child often how they can use their knowledge practically. For example, if a child can count, add, and subtract, they can count the change when you’re shopping together. If a kid has already learned their multiplication tables, they will be able to count how many Chupa Chups lollipops they will be able to buy for $2.
7. Teach your kid to speak and ask questions correctly.
All children who start school can speak, but not all of them can ask questions and convey their thoughts correctly. Some of them feel shy, others simply don’t know how to do it in the right way.
Teach your child to express their thoughts and approach other people with requests. Teach them to talk to the teacher and that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and re-ask them as many times as they need to to understand a topic and fulfill a task. And remember, even if your child is attending kindergarten, it might be difficult for them to get used to a new environment.
8. Help your kid befriend their classmates.
Relationships with classmates are very important for all kids. Their self-confidence and academic performance depend on these relationships too. Nowadays, children often attend schools that are located far from their homes and their parents often pick them up right after the day is over. This prevents classmates from getting closer to each other and becoming good friends. That’s why parents can help their kids find friends in the class by offering to take a walk together, or by inviting their classmates to spend some time at your home playing games and having a snack.
9. Your relationship should be a priority.
Don’t concentrate all of your attention on your child’s academic performance — it’s neither the only thing, nor the most important thing in your relationship. Stay interested in the life of your child, their hobbies, feelings, observations, desires, and friends. Don’t be the one who controls your child, but be their “fan” instead — ask about the environment at school, listen to them, and support them. Show them that you have a common life together and that the things happening in their lives are as important as what’s happening in yours. Spend more time with them and build bright and happy memories together.
10. Remember that grades don’t determine the success of a child.
Parents fear for their kid’s bad grades is actually the fear for their future, while the grades themselves only show how well the kid learned the taught material. Bad grades don’t mean that the child is silly, lazy, irresponsible, and unwilling to work. They only speak to the fact that, for some reason, your child doesn’t want to study or they simply can’t do it due to a very complex school program. Maybe you have chosen the best math school in the city and it’s too difficult for your child to study there?
If they aren’t able to get exclusively As and Bs, don’t be disappointed. There are more “C” students than “A” students among successful businessmen. The thing is these people relate to mistakes easier because they have developed a strong immunity to them in their childhood. Their “C” marks are not the result of laziness or low intellect, but evidence that they aren’t interested in a certain school program. If this situation exists in your family, focus your child’s attention on subjects that they feel really interested in.
Do your kids do their work by themselves? Which methods did you use to teach them to do it this way? Please share your experience with us in the comments!
Illustrated by Inna Grevtseva for BrightSide.me