All children go through a phase where they just don’t feel like doing their homework, sometimes. So, what can you do to motivate them and make studying a fun experience?
Tip#1: Take a break and don’t nag
Don’t nag, no matter how much you are tempted to. Some kids are natural rebels, so the more you nag them, the more they will refuse!
Just like how you would like a break after a long day at work, your kids need to wind down too after a long day at school. Allow them to spend a little time (about 20 minutes) to unwind such as playing football or watch a bit of TV. Get your children to set the time when they have to work on their homework and make sure that they stick to it.
Tip#2: Use the word "study"
Instead of guilt-tripping your kids by saying “it’s homework time”, why not say "it’s study time"? "Study time" is broader and can reflect on either studying and/or doing homework. It also gives the impression that they can also use that time to study while doing homework.
Tip 3#: Get them on a routine
Studying will become a habit once you get your kids to study around the same time. Isn’t it just wonderful to see your kids doing their studies on their own without you telling them to? Have a chat with them and establish a study schedule through which they can determine the time they would like to spend studying. Ensure your child is doing this on a daily basis, and all other activities such as meeting up with friends are listed out too, so that there will be a healthy balance between study and life. Most importantly, ensure that they follow through what they’ve scheduled for themselves.
Tip #4: Play a supportive role
As much as you would like to help your children with their homework, remember this, it is their homework. So, let them be responsible for it. The purpose of having homework, in the first place, is to test their understanding of the subject while making use of the knowledge and skills they have learnt. Be a supportive parent and don’t criticize or punish your child. Encourage your child to be independent in getting the homework done. Understand the problems they face (if there are any) and provide rational solutions.
Tip#5: Praise and appreciate their effort
Let your kids know that you appreciate the efforts they make in attempting to tackle their homework independently, even if they do not get it all right. Use encouraging words such as “You have done an amazing job, keep it up!” to induce positivity while providing them the confidence to be more persistent in accepting new challenges.
Tip#6 Set goals and rewards
You can motivate your kids to study by giving out a reward when a goal is achieved. The goal set must, of course, be achievable by your child. It should reflect on their ability in making improvements for the desired goal. The form of reward given can be varied, for instance, it can be a movie trip, an ice-cream, a sleepover, etc.
Tip#7 Minimise surrounding distractions
The TV, mobile phone, computer and hand-held games can be distracting. Limit and control their use. For example, they can only watch the TV when they are done with their homework. If your child likes to listen to music while doing homework, make sure that the music he or she is listening to is not too distracting.
Center for Effective Parenting. Available from www.parenting-ed.org
Today Parents. Available from www.today.com/parents/secrets-getting-kids-do-their-homework-8C11080329