Homework battles and how to deal with them!
Last week I spoke on my Instagram stories about choosing the best time to do reading with our children. Our eldest child has always struggled with reading and we all put it off, as nobody wants an argument!
Does the thought of battling with your child to complete their homework fill you with dread too? Well, fear not, as I have done some research on it to help you as well as me!
Parents often have a very different viewpoint to their children when it comes to homework and this can cause a lot of friction. We have it in our house all the time, but I am learning slowly how to deal with it, so here I offer some well researched advice.
Firstly, parents can get frustrated with having to assist with homework for many reasons. Do you relate to any of the below?
- I have been at work all day and I am tired!
- I wish my child would speed it up, as we need to get the day wrapped up.
- I need some time to myself.
- I would rather relax with my children after school, than battle with them.
- I wish they would put more effort in and do better.
Well, we need to understand it from their viewpoint too. They have spent the whole day away from us at school and who knows what they may have been faced with during the day. They may have had disappointments or been embarrassed over saying the wrong answer. They might also be hungry and tired and not have the energy you expect them to have. In our previous blog about avoiding after school meltdowns, we explored how children can often control their feelings in a school setting but suddenly need to let these out when they come home. Homework might seem like yet another chore for them after an already busy or sometimes stressful day. Try not to make ‘Let’s get our homework done’ be the first words to come out when you get them home from school. Use homework time to be that connection time that you need with your child. This can increase your bonding time and help their confidence, which we all know is top of the agenda at the moment. So, how can we beat these homework battles?
- Fuel them with food first - the right kind of course!
- Allow them time to decompress - this could be reading a book, playing with their siblings, watching ten minutes of TV, or playing outside.
- Allow them some choice in planning - instead of demanding it gets done, ask them ‘When is your homework due?’ Then work out when you need to fit it in to hit the deadline. It might not be today!
- Allow them to do it how they like to - this might mean sitting at the kitchen table while you are cooking, or sitting next to you on the sofa.
- Try and make it fun if possible - for younger children this is so important. They might not even realise they are learning if you put on a funny voice, or add some funny drawings on your own piece of paper. Try and get a smile on their face while they are doing it!
- Collaborate with them - Standing over your child isn’t going to help. Be present and available to help them, but don’t crowd them. You can always do a bit of your own work at the same time or plan the week’s meals for example, while still being close by and available to help them.
- Show interest in the process, not just the answer - even if they answer isn’t right, try to show them that you are interested in how they got to it and then guide them in the right path. You can help them to see mistakes as learnings and building blocks on how to improve.
- Be curious - younger children love it when you ask them questions and try and figure them out together. So ‘I have never read this book, I wonder what it is about’ might spark them to start reading or tell you what they already know, without it feeling forced.
- Allow mistakes and struggles - It is so easy to shut down struggles but children need this in order to learn and work their way towards success. So help them, but don’t tell them the answer!
- Be aware of feelings - sometimes it really isn’t worth the battle - Sit and listen to their feelings and make sure you let them get it out. Be empathetic and they will hopefully find their way back into positive thinking and you can crack on. But if not, don’t fret, find a better time to do it and start again.
If you have any of your own tips, I would love to hear them!!