School is back in session and like everything else about motherhood, school can present a whole new set of challenges that might prove to be tough to figure out on your own. As kids get older and get new responsibilities from school, it might be hard to learn and adjust to get into new routines. That’s right, I’m talking about homework. When kids start bringing home folders full of papers at the end of the day, it might be tough to get them to hunker down and get their work done, considering that for most kids, that’s often the last thing that they want to do at the end of a school day.
In my time as Mom, I’ve learned a couple of trade secrets and tricks that totally helped get my kids into the mindset of getting their work done and still having time in the evening for fun after it’s all done.
1. Set a particular time for “homework time”.
When my kids get home, they get time to just decompress and then about a half an hour later, it’s homework time until they get their work done or it’s time for dinner. Setting a schedule and routine makes it easier for kids to just form a homework habit. Then after dinner they can watch TV, play video games or just have some time online.
2. Don’t hover.
Constantly monitoring your children to make sure that they’re getting their work done means that you become the distraction from the task at hand. You might not realize it, but you can derail and distract them just as easily as anything else. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be there to help.
3. Be available for help when they need it, though.
Make sure that you’re around for them to go to when they have questions or can’t figure something out. Check in occasionally to make sure that they’re not distracted or fretting over a hard question and offer help when required.
4. Give them a snack while they’re working.
It’s always harder to concentrate on work on an empty stomach, but also when your child is multitasking — yes that even means just eating — they’re less likely to become distracted by something else.
Does your child have a research project, or an assignment that might take a little longer than just one night? Track their progress and reward them for staying on task and completing their work by giving them a sweet treat, a new video game or take them to a movie when it’s all said and done. Having rewards for meeting goals is always a great persuader.
6. Call in reinforcements.
Besides directly persuading your child to do their homework and get things done with a light at the end of the tunnel, getting kids into the habitual mindset can require a broader form of incentivization. Ask Santa for help by going to FreeLetterFromSanta.com and have them write a letter or personalized video from Santa, reminding your kids that getting their homework done in a timely manner year round will secure them a spot on the Nice List at the end of the year.
7. Set aside a particular place in the house for them to get their homework done.
Kids are distraction magnets, if they can see something they’ll be distracted by it. If the homework space is a desk in a room, make sure that it’s not near window or else they’ll just start daydreaming about a time when they don’t have to do homework.
8. Turn on some music.
I remember when I was a kid and my mom would only let me listen to classical music or nothing because she read in some two-bit advice column that classical music would stimulate the brain but otherwise music would become a distraction. Not so! To this day my kids get in the zone by putting on their favorite Pandora station, getting situated and listening to some tunes while they get things done.
9. Review their work when they’re done.
I know that this sounds cliche, but verbal affirmation is always a great resource for getting kids to get their homework done. If they’re immediately told that they’ve done well, they’ll develop an even more positive connection to the act of finishing their homework. Not only do they get to relax, but they also know that they’ll feel good about getting their work done if Mom tells them that they’ve done a good job.
Get comfortable and don’t worry too much about their performance. Your kids can feel what you’re feeling and they’ll absorb your stress if you seem too worried. Have confidence in your kids getting their homework done, and they’ll be confident too.
Homework time doesn’t have to be stressful. Take it from me, I know it sounds silly but if you follow these ten strategies, your kids will look forward to homework every night!