Parents and children often have homework battles. Believe it or not, homework can actually be a time of connection, not conflict. For athletes, the pressures of getting homework done can be greater because of the demands on their time.
The problem with homework is that it’s simply not fun and it can be yet another thing that you have to stay on top of your kids to do – as if chores and cleaning up weren’t enough.
With kids’ busy sports activities, parents’ work, housework and other activities consuming your calendar, the time you have with your children seems to get less and less. Homework can be a time when you connect with your kids instead of battling over getting work done.
Here are a few ways to turn homework battles into bonding time with your kids:
Let them eat and have some free time first. That may mean an after-school snack and some free time. If your child plays sports, it may mean dinner and 30 minutes of doing what they want before diving into homework.
Set a homework schedule. Encourage them to do it at the same time and place every day. And let them choose that schedule.
Let your child show YOU. Have your child show you how they did the math. You might even pretend to guess the wrong answer so that they have to explain the right answer. That cements their understanding and builds their confidence.
Be available if they need help. but don’t hover. Work nearby in the kitchen or at the table doing your own stuff.
Let them suffer the consequences of NOT doing it. If your child forgets or just decides they don’t want to do the work, don’t nag and push. Let them deal with the repercussions at school. Let the teacher be the “bad” guy.
Teach me something new. Older kids may not go for this, but younger ones might. When they are done, ask them to teach you something that they learned from their homework. Letting them explain out loud helps reinforce what they’ve done.
If they do need your help, don’t just give answers, make it fun. Do the math a silly way and let them correct you. Draw funny pictures or read the instructions in a silly voice. This may take more time than you’d like, but it is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your kids. You are giving of yourself when you give your time by focusing on them and their needs.
Being available to help and showing interest in your child’s homework is another way to stay in touch with how your child is doing in school. As a teacher’s wife, I know many parents who have no clue how their kids are doing or IF they are doing their work. Be intentional about being involved in your child’s school efforts.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.