How to Overcome Homework Battles

If your tired of homework battles, Mighty Mommy has some A+ strategies to bring more harmony into your family's life.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #351

Maximize with Your Kitchen Timer

If you have a procrastinator in the mix like I do (actually, I admit I fall into this category myself), you may need to take other measures to motivate your child to actually get started on his first assignment of the night. For this purpose, I love the kitchen timer. Once your child has all his work materials ready to go, make a game out of getting started by racing against the clock. Set your kitchen timer for ten minutes and have him see how much he can complete before the timer goes off.  Just be sure to remind him that although it’s a fun race, you expect his work to be neat and of good quality.

Have Extra Textbooks on Hand

Two of my kids are extremely forgetful. Although we review their homework planners and routinely have written and other reminders on hand, they both seem to struggle with remembering to bring certain textbooks and study guides home. Having a spare set of textbooks at home can improve your child’s homework habits and studies so reach out to your child’s school team to see if you can obtain an extra set for the school year so your child will never be without them.

Talk It Up

If you have a child who doesn’t like to share too much information, you may need to get yourself into the habit of asking supportive questions that can help your child think through an assignment and break it down into small workable chunks. Be available for assistance and to help when needed, but establish early on that you will not be doing the homework for them.

Ask your child specific questions so that you know she understands the assignment and what is expected of her, such as:

  • Do you understand the assignment?
  • What help will you need to complete it on time?
  • Do you have everything you need to complete the assignment?
  • How can I support you with this assignment? (Remember, though, it’s your child’s homework assignment, not yours.)

Sometimes it’s simply helpful to have a parent in the nearby vicinity of where your child is doing his homework so that he feels supported and not alone. One of my son’s does much better with homework when I’m in the kitchen making dinner because it gives him a sense of comfort and I can reinforce to him that he’s doing a good job.  “You’ve finished 2 chapters and only have one to go, Brendan. Keep at it, you’re doing a super job.”

Homework Clubs

If your child’s school has an afterschool homework club, take advantage of this opportunity. Our school offers a homework club three days a week and a late bus is provided as well so that parents who work don’t need to worry about transportation home for their child. Homework clubs offer a structured environment in the school setting with a teacher on hand who can help answer questions and keep them on track. This also helps to eliminate parental struggles at home if the assignments or bulk of them can be done in school rather than at home.

Show Positive Support

It's important to show your kids that you think homework is important. There's no question that homework each night can become a burden, especially when parents have had long days keeping the household going or running home after a day at work and now dinner has to be made, pets need to be cared for, and carpools need to be run. If your kids see you acting frazzled about homework, they in turn will feel uptight as well. For kids with learning disabilities, it is even more difficult to help them stay on task without getting frustrated at the end of the day when all of you are tired so when you do implement your child’s homework routine, do so with a calm, encouraging manner to keep unnecessary anxieties at bay.

And do be in contact with your child’s teacher on a regular basis and not just until grades come out to discover there is a problem. If there is a difficulty with a particular subject, stay in contact with that teacher and work out a plan to assist him or her throughout the semester. When your child knows you are communicating with school, he/she is more apt to give his/her studies a more serious effort, and the school will know you are all on the same page.   See Also:  6 Ways to Take Back Family Time

How do you manage homework in your household.? Share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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