Secrets for Ending Homework Battles


Well, school has started and about now the “Honeymoon” is over. Assignments start to pile up and those homework battles may be starting up, too. “Homework time” can be very stressful and tension-filled for both child and parent, but research clearly says that doing homework enhances not only a child's learning but also teaches essential skills they will need to succeed in school and in life. A few of those skills include learning organization, problem solving, attention span, memory, goal-setting, responsibility and “stick-to-it-ness” as well as academic skills.

Here are just a few secrets to make homework time more successful for your child and you. The real parenting secret is to find what works best for your kid and then stick to it!


1. Recognize your role as "helper" not "doer." 

Sometimes in our quest to help our kids succeed, we may get carried away providing too much help. Make sure he's doing the work- not you! One of the best self-esteem enhancers is recognizing a job we can be proud of. Offering too much help robs your child of those powerful, “I did it!” moments, and he just may be saying to himself instead, “Mom did it for me.”


2. Praise efforts and not just the “end product.”

Kids needs to learn the importance of hard work and effort and homework provides a great opportunity for you to reinforce his perseverance. You might start a family motto such as “Never Give Up!” or “Don't quit until you succeed” or “In this family, we finish what we start,” Perhaps the most important trait doing homework instills in our children is perseverance. The only way they'll learn to value effort is by our steady emphasis of “it's not good enough just to start; you have to finish.”


3. Insist homework be her responsibility not yours.

Resist the temptation of always sitting next to her and offer your help only when it's really needed. If your child is having difficulties, help her understand the work by making up similar problems and showing her step by step how to do it. Then watch her try to do one on her own. That way you won't be doing all the work for her. Asking her to show you her completed work at the end of each row or section is another way to ensure she's following the directions correctly but not relying on you for every detail.


4. Section the assignment in smaller chunks.

>  Grouping assignments into smaller chunks is often helpful for kids who have difficulty sticking to a task, have shorter attention spans, or are overly concerned with making sure “everything's right.” Then tell your child to do “one chunk at a time” You can even take a short break after completing each chunk. Gradually you can increase the size of the “work chunks” as your child's confidence increases.


5. Consider a getting a tutor.

If you do find homework battles increasing, you are doing most of your child's work or your child is having a difficult time mastering the subject despite your help, consider hiring a tutor. Ask your teacher or other parents for recommendations including even a high school student. The goal of homework should always be to enhance your child's learning abilities and confidence while at the same time preserving the relationship with your child.  For more tips you can read my blog entry on hiring the best tutor.


6. Agree upon specific times for doing homework ahead of time and then stick to it.

You may want to even post your agreement in a visible place and then sign it. Many kids need a break after school, while others like to delve right in while things are fresh in their mind. Find your child's best work time and consistently reinforce it. Drawing a clock face that shows the set homework time is helpful for younger children.

Do you have any questions or tips of your own?  Leave a comment below.

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12Secrets_Borba.jpgDr. Michele Borba is the author of over 22 books including 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know .

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