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Avoiding Homework Battlefields

One mother groaned, “We had a three-hour battle over homework last night. First the

procrastination, then the complaints when we vetoed a television show, then the rush
before bedtime. But he needs to learn to take responsibility!”

If this describes your home, you may be experience a clash in homework styles. While
you may be a, “How soon can I get this over with?” person, you may have a, “Let’s let
the moments unfold” child! Here’s the big idea: If this is so, the routines that work so
well for you may well teach your child to hate learning.

So what to do about homework routines?

  • Ask. Talk with your child about when he or she would like to do homework. While routine is good, I bet you know of adults who purposely vary routine to keep things interesting. Some kids need to burn off energy after a day in school. Others want to sit down with that glass of milk and get it out of the way to have the evening free. Let your child think about it and even experiment. What works best for them?
  • Remind without nagging. Let’s say your child has opted for homework in the 30 minutes before dinner. Rather than calling them more than once if they ignore their designated time, remind them that they either follow through on their own choice or you’ll have to go back to making their choices. This is quite effective—children like to be in charge of themselves!
  • Relax on details. Some kids do best at the kitchen table while you’re bustling about. Others need the quiet of their room. Others need music going to block out siblings and sirens and other distractions; and silence might be even more distracting for them! Let children manage these details as long as the homework gets done.

“You get to choose, as long as you follow through,” is a great way to let children have some autonomy about homework while making clear that they have no option but to finish the homework. Decrease the skirmishes and you just might win that bigger battle.

Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is  www.janekise.com