Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My child hates to do home work. How can I help?

I remember coming home at the end of a long day at school and being so exhausted that I did not want to even look at a school book.  I was lucky, when I went to school (many) years ago, we had a normal amount of homework.  I was able to get most of it done at school.  Today for better or worse, our children tend to have so much homework that they often could spend most of their precious time in the evening finishing it. 

I don’t blame children for not wanting to do home work after a long day at school.  No matter what age, they need some time to be kids – even when they are 17 years old.  When you add afterschool sports and other activities to the equation you have an overload.  

I always think the best time for a child to do their homework is right away when they get home.  But often times they are exhausted and overwhelmed and just need some down time.  
Here are a few suggestions to help make it easier. 
1.         Limit after school activities.  I know this is a big challenge but too often today our children are overloaded with too many activities they “kind of” enjoy.  Let your children each pick one they really like and MAYBE offer a second.  Give your children some time to be children.

2.        Feed them a healthy snack after school.  Whether you are leaving right away to make it to an afterschool activity or you are staying home, this is an important step.  Avoid sugar/carbohydrate loads.  Try cheese and fruit.  The fruit will give them a burst of little energy now and the cheese will sustain them until dinner time. 

3.        Give your children the choice if they want to play right away or do home work.  You will be amazed at the response your children will have when you ask every day what their preference is.  There might be some days your children choose to do homework right away, and there may be days that your children are just too tired.  Be sure your children understand what else is on the schedule for the day before they make their choice.  And once your child has made the decision for the day, hold him to it. 

4.       Make sure that at least 2 times a week your children have 60 minutes in the evening to do what they want to do.  Give your children time to relax and enjoy themselves.

5.        Talk to your children about motivation.  Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and help them to understand how the homework they do today will help them accomplish their goal.  For example if your daughter wants to design buildings as an architect, she is going to need to be really good at math.  If your son wants to write books, he will need to be really good at spelling and grammar.  Help your children to see that they work hard at some things in his life like sports or video games, and there is also value in working hard to finish homework.    

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