Thursday, 11 February 2016

12 Top Kids Homework Tips: Get it done without the fights

Homework doesn’t have to be a chore. Instill harmony back into your family with these sure-fire homework tips from parents and teachers…we are passing you the magic wand.

Homework. Ah…homework. The task we all love to hate. Kids, parents and even teachers. It’s somewhat like being lumped with having to clean the toilet. We would all just love to avoid it right? But of course we can’t.

For months I imagined myself as Mary Poppins trying to help my teenage sister-in-law with her homework. I wanted that charmed spoonful of sugar (cough…or wine) to help the medicine go down; to replace the frustration and nagging and find the element of fun. Try as I might there were arguments, that’s until we sought help from the people who had walked in our footsteps and revamped our approach with these helpful homework tips:

1) Nip issues in the bud before they begin: Plan it.

Sit down with kids and map out a plan to tackle homework before school starts, rather than waiting for problems to arise. Children are then empowered as they are collaboratively making their own rules, thus they take responsibility for them. Discuss topics such as what problems you had last year, what time and where homework will be carried out. Be flexible to alter these guidelines as the year progresses if things aren’t working.

Extra Tip: Write up and pin/frame these rules in your homework area to refer to it if things go a little pear shaped. There’s no disputing the rules.

2) Be a habit hobbit: Get organised.

There’s nothing more wearisome than procrastination. Make sure your child has had a break, something to eat and drink and been to the toilet before sitting down to homework. Create a portable homework caddy with all your essentials so you never waste time looking for stationery. We love this one from Clean Mama: 

Ensure the environment enriches learning. Turn off distractions such as music and TV, have the correct seating and lighting available and set up younger siblings with independent activities that interest them. To improve concentration for little wiggle worms, ditch the chair and invest in an exercise ball.

3) Get in the Groove: Stick with it.

Find the right schedule for homework that suits your family and continue to do homework at the designated time. Children like routine; it makes them feel safe and reduces anxiety.

4) Adopt a Positive attitude: Negative thoughts make your mind messy.

If you come to the table with a negative attitude you have already lost the battle before you have begun as your child will acquire the attitude you exhibit. Practical homework tasks have several learning benefits. Don’t be afraid to use your child’s interests as bait by letting slip how homework can help him or her in the future. For instance, your aspiring singer will need superb literacy skills to produce Aria award-winning songs. 

Ok, we’ll admit, sometimes homework is B.O.R.I.N.G! Fake it ‘til you make it mumma!

5) Inject a bit of fun: it’s not all work and no play.

When you hear the word ‘work’ what is your knee jerk reaction? Insert grimacing face emoji right? So let’s substitute ‘homework’ for a phrase that invites learning and growth, such as ‘mission construction cells,’ ‘growing grey matter,’ ‘safeguarding smarts,’ ‘brain boosting,’ ‘rad revision,’ ‘busy bee,’ or ‘think tank’. Have a giggle and get creative! 

Use materials around the home to supplement homework that isn’t engaging and hands on. Use Sumblox  to solve Mathematical equations, Stampers  for spelling and food and coins for all sorts of wonderful activities.

6) Remember the power of intrinsic motivation: Work it!

Warm and fuzzies are the best motivators for continuing desired behavour. Don’t forget to genuinely compliment your child on how proud you are of him or her. Make sure you include a reason, such as, ‘I’m so proud of how persistent you were with that question. It was a little challenging but you never gave up,’ or ‘I love the way you showed initiative to get the homework caddy without me asking. Well done on being so organised.’ Eventually your praise will become their inner voice and self motivation.

7) Call a friend: The case of the missing worksheet.

‘I left the sheet at schooooooool!’ Sound familiar? Have 3 or 4 phone numbers on hand to contact when this occurs. A quick snap shot and text from a fellow mummy always saves the day.

8) Assist when help is requested: Be a facilitator not a force to be reckoned with.

It’s a natural instinct to want the best for our children but hovering or doing their homework for them will do them no favours. Show your child you have faith in his or her ability to independently complete the task. Be available as a mentor if he or she asks for help but don’t give the answers away. Instead build your child’s confidence by asking open-ended questions that guide your child to uncover the answer for him/herself. If you don’t know the answer it is ok to leave it and ask for help from the teacher.

9) Be a role model: radiate positivity with your ‘homework’.

Whilst your children are independently working why not sit by and read your own book, pay bills or work. Send a loud and clear message that sometimes things just have to be done.

10) Reality Check: We all have those days.

You know your child. If he or she is unusually tired, has lost a loved one, is anxious about something or is sick, homework is best left for another time.

11) If all else fails…let ‘em choose.

Provided you have established and are maintaining a supportive and respectful learning environment and have collaborative homework guidelines the bottom line is that you can’t force your children to do homework-especially as they get older without putting a large wedge between you. Let them take responsibility to make their choices and in turn, learn that consequences will always follow.

12) Keep’n it real: Question overload or irrelevance.

Childhood is about imaginative play, being active and socialization. If you feel that your child is spending too much time on the books or the homework isn’t practical, book a time to speak to the teacher to address your concerns. 

Do you any handy homework tips?

This is a guest post from Krystal Warburton, Owner of Sweet Elephants. Krystal is a former teacher who started her business when she couldn't find educational toys for her young children. Now she has discovered a love of writing she can join all her passions together.


3 comments:

  1. I'm definitely getting sumblox when bub starts learning maths, they are the coolest invention ever. I'm also a big believer in intrinsic motivation and positive reinforcement. Although I am slightly glad I don't need to deal with homework for a few years yet.

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  2. There are some awesome ideas here - I'll be bookmarking this for future reference!

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  3. One of the awesome articles for homework. I liked your point for being a role model for a child as child will follow you that your working and it will set an environment to do work on time.

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I love reading comments from you. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. xox

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