By Marcia Hall
Many parents struggle with getting their child to complete homework after school. Rarely is a child ever anxious to get back to work when he returns home from school, but there are some ways that you can make homework less of a struggle for both you and for your child. To make getting your child to do homework less of a chore, you have to begin with understanding why he is resistant to doing homework in the first place.
He is exhausted from a long day at school
School is exhausting – even more so than it used to be. In the last 10 to 20 years, the needs of children have not changed, however the pace of life has. Most parents are busy and have very little down time, which inevitably means that your child ends up with less down time too. He is going to be less likely to be motivated to work when there is chaos all around him. It is important for parents to model healthy habits so that children understand that, while it is important to work hard, it is also important to take care of yourself.
He is overwhelmed by your expectations of him
Parents want their child to be well rounded and to get ahead in life. Along with this comes getting good grades. All these expectations can put a lot of pressure on your child and may cause him to become burned out and want to find an escape. Focusing on helping your child develop a desire to accomplish his goals is what will help your child succeed in life. Help your child love learning rather than demanding he earn good grades by instilling fear and guilt.
He is not sleeping enough
Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated needs in our society today. When a person does not get enough sleep it can cause him to be sick more often, lose focus, and have more emotional issues. Children often need a great deal more sleep than they usually get. There are many different sleep suggestions, but the most important thing is to make good sleep habits a priority so that your child is able to get the sleep his body needs. This can help him focus more, both in school and at home.
He is over booked with other activities
Parents want their child to develop skills other than academics, and because of this they often sign up their child for extracurricular activities such as sports or arts. While it is important to give your child a chance to try new activities and get exercise, he also needs time to be a child. In order to make sure he has time to play, rest and simply think about life, avoid overscheduling every free moment. Pick one or two activities that he loves and focus on those activities for four months. He can always rotate activities after a few months. Setting this boundary can help him to learn to prioritize what activities are really valuable.
He is addicted to TV and video games
It seems like an obvious point that your child may refuse to do his homework because he loves his TV and video games. Parents often find it very difficult to limit these activities. There may be appropriate times for your child to engage in these activities, however, it is very easy for him to become addicted to them. It is important to understand that playing video games and watching TV does not relax a child’s brain. In fact, it actually overstimulates the brain and makes it harder for a child to learn and retain information. Overuse of watching TV and playing video games may contribute to your child struggling with school and homework in more ways than one.
He does not understand the work and needs some extra help
It is possible that your child does not want to do his homework because he really needs help. It can be challenging for parents to accept that their child might need help with school because there is often a stigma attached to children who need additional help with school work. However, many very bright and intelligent children need help in one area or another. Children learn at different rates and they all excel in different areas. If your child is struggling with math, but excelling in history, it is important to acknowledge that there are also subjects that he is doing very well in. Remember that we all have different things to offer this world. Embrace your child for who he is, what he is good at, AND what he needs a little extra help at.
Homework is a major struggle in many homes, but it does not have to be. Recognizing the reason your child might be fighting it is key to establishing healthy homework habits. By doing this you might find you have fewer battles to fight on that front.