Homework can seem like an endless battle that parents just want to give up on. No parent is alone in their homework frustrations. Some nights of homework just seem to go on and on and escalate to ridiculous behaviors on the part of the child and many times the parents as well. How can parents forgo those unbearable nights and provide some homework motivation for children?
Start early with good homework habits. Even though homework may not count in the early years, starting the habit of homework or study time as early as preschool or kindergarten will preempt the homework strife of the later years. Making homework a daily activity will grow a healthy habit in the life of a child. They will learn that it is part of their day and is not an option. Children thrive within schedules, so set aside a certain time every day to be their homework time.
Communication with teachers is a necessity. Without good communication the parent may not be aware of whether their children are completing all of their work or may not learn this until it is time for the conference, interim or report card. Most teachers strive to communicate with parents; however this is not always the case. The parent should always consider themselves their child’s primary advocate and should open those lines of communication to ensure that their children are staying on top of their work and to know if they need to provide more homework motivation for their children.
Homework motivation for children can be achieved through positive reinforcement. This can happen through systems in the classroom and at home. The teacher can motivate the child in the classroom through stickers, rewards or by the earning of privileges. Teachers can then communicate any progress with the parents. In the home, the child can be rewarded for completing their homework without struggles for a certain period of time. For instance when the child does so for a week they earn a sticker on the calendar and when this happens for a month they earn a meal at their favorite restaurant, to the movies, or to whatever that child enjoys doing.
Unfortunately, there will be setbacks. When homework is not completed or there is a fight over doing it there should be consequences. Privileges can be lost in the classroom and at home. Children could loose their TV, video game or computer time, or not be allowed to participate in the reward activity they would have had they completed their homework without a fuss. If parents do not follow through with consequences the children will simple go on in their bad habits. Therefore, though unpleasant for both the child and the parent, consequences are necessary to provide accountability.
Practicing good habits at an early age, communicating with teachers, granting rewards and sticking to consequences will help motivate a child to good homework and study habits. With a little work and open communication children will grow and achieve in school and in life.