Surviving the Homework Battle
School is in session and if your home is anything like ours, the battle of routine is amongst us. It seems as though our kids come home and they are simply DONE. Their brains are on overload. Rightfully so, the demands on our children nowadays are much higher than what we had when we were in school. The other thing is they are always STARVING as if they haven’t eaten all day. One of the top complaints we hear from families is, “My kids don’t want to do their homework.” It seems to always turn into a battle. What do we do so that we are not all pulling our hair out by 4pm? Here are some of our top tips to have homework time go smoother.
- Have a structured routine so your children knows exactly what to expect. Having a routine so your kids know exactly what is going to happen when they get home is really important and truly helps to alleviate the HW battle. We have found many of the families that struggle most don't have a set routine. This allows for arguments and power struggles to occur. When there is no set structure in place, both sides have unexpressed expectations that do not get met, which often leads to the homework battle. Our children need us to guide them and knowing exactly what we expect from them helps ease the anxiety and miscommunication.
- Give them a healthy snack. Like we said before, many kids come home “starving”. Giving them a snack allows them to take a break and have their brain rest. It also gives them a boost of energy to allow them to complete their tasks.
- Have a homework basket where all supplies are located. We use a pencil case. In there we have pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, glue, scissors and anything else I find they need for HW. This eliminates their opportunity to procrastinate by looking for supplies.
- Pick a designated homework spot. Have your children sit in the same area to do their homework each day. This area should be free from distractions and comfortable for them.
- Don’t be attached to what you think doing HW looks like. Remember the demands on our kids are so high. When they come home they have been holding it together for over 6 hours. They have been sitting up straight and quietly for many hours. Allow them to move if they need to. Some kids may need to stand or use a bouncy chair. Others may need the use of a fidget. Many kids think and focus better when they are allowed to have some movement. My son HATES math homework. We make it fun by playing his favorite song right before he starts and we just dance out the frustration. Whatever the case may be, let go of ridgeness. What is our main goal? It is to complete HW without it being a battle, so let go a little. As long as it is getting done and they tried their best, let them sit how they need to.
We recommend having kids complete their homework sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the harder it is for them to get back into school brain. We always tell my kids the faster we get it done the more time they have for themselves. If you find your child is consistently struggling with the homework, make sure to reach out to their teacher and let them know. Homework should be something that your child understands and it doesn’t need to be a battle. Taking these simple steps can help make it easier for all. We want our kids to feel good about themselves and their schoolwork.
by Margarita Daskalakis and Juarline Stavrinos