In a busy daily life, it can be frustrating if the little time you have with your children is used for constant discussions about homework. But there are ways to make the evening ritual more enjoyable for everyone
If you find yourself discussing how, where and when homework should be done with your children every night, it's clear that something needs to change - but it's not always easy to know how to break out of a bad pattern.
As with many things, when it comes to parenting, creating a good routine around homework can help reduce the potential for conflict and make it go more smoothly.
Find out when your child is most focused and ready to sit down with their homework. Some children are happy to do it right after school, leaving them the rest of the night off, whereas others need some time to relax and unwind before they can get started.
Talk to your child and decide on an appropriate time together. Once you have found a time, make sure they stick to it - especially if you have a child whose biggest challenge is to get started - and praise them when they do so unprompted. After a couple of weeks, it will become a habit.
Does your child have a place where they can do their work in peace without being easily distracted? It's worth putting some thought into whether your child would work better in a quiet room away from the rest of the family, or if they should be sitting somewhere close to you so that you can help them if they have any questions. Ask yourself how easily your child gets distracted, how much assistance they need, and if they have enough desk space.
If you go through your child's homework with them after they have finished, make sure you point out the things they have done well, as well as the things they might need to change. If you just point out their mistakes, it's easy for them to get demotivated, and they may want to avoid showing you their work in the future. Also remember that it's your child's homework, not yours, and your child will learn very little if you do their homework for them.
When praising your children, make sure to focus on their efforts rather than their results; studies show that praising children's efforts rather than their innate abilities makes them more likely to make an effort and take on new challenges.
Try to start a conversation about the work they have done, and ask them to evaluate what they are happy with, and what they might want to do differently in the future.
For bigger homework projects, or in preparation for tests or exams, help your child break the task up into manageable chunks, and create a plan for when they need to do what. Encourage and reward them for following the plan, and make sure they get breaks and time to recharge when they need it.
Getting children into a good homework routine can sometimes be challenging, but remember that the good habits your child forms when it comes to organising their studies and work will be helpful for them for the rest of their life.
If you find that no matter what you try, their daily homework is becoming too overwhelming for your child, seek help. Talk to their teacher and their school, ask if they have any insights, and what they think you could be doing to help.