SOMETIMES it can genuinely feel like it would be easier to do ten rounds with a champion boxer instead of getting your child to sit down and complete their homework.
And let’s face it – even as adults we probably all secretly agree it’s hardly the most enjoyable task.
Very few of us could honestly say we enjoyed doing homework as a child, but it is an essential part of learning[/caption]
But actually if you’re struggling to get your kids to do it on time, there are tried-and-tested techniques you can apply to encourage them.
Here, two experts reveal their tips to a drama-free evening, and the methods they swear by to get your kids working efficiently…
The ‘chunk’ technique
Having a huge pile of homework can be daunting, and looking at big tasks all at once can be overwhelming.
Which is why experts believe it’s important to break it down into more manageable and less anxiety-inducing stages.
Yvette Reinfor, a former teacher and Co-Founder of More Curricular, an education consultancy, says: “Help your child learn how to break up longer homework assignments into chunks.
“Then, assign a time to complete each chunk.”
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The environment your child completes their homework is also really important, and it’s essential the area is devoid of any distractions.
Yvette says: “Set up a designated study space.
“Ensure that your child has access to all the tools they will need to do their homework, and the area is free from any distractions.
“Computer devices and phones should only be used if they are necessary to complete homework.”
Hand over (some) control
Homework is also a good way to hone your child’s organisational skills, and this can be achieved by giving them some control over how they complete their tasks.
Yvette says: “Set a flexible, weekly homework schedule.
“Let your child decide the order in which they complete assignments.
“Parents should give guidance in prioritising homework, using checklists and estimating how long each task or assignment will take.
“Giving the child control of their schedule will enable an enjoyable routine to develop.”
Teachers have plenty of tips to try and make homework time as hassle-free as possible[/caption]
Yvette says: “Use timers or devices with alarms to help your child finish their homework.
“Timers can be used as a reward to reinforce routines and help keep habits in place.
“For instance, if your child does their homework within a specified time, they can have 20 minutes of free time.”
“Parents can model social behaviour, create routines and give their children opportunities to learn and practice necessary skills before completing them alone.
“This general tip will support the development of executive functioning skills, i.e., the brain’s ability to plan, organise and manage daily activities.”
Feed the brain
You are what you eat as they say, so it’s important to ensure your children are well nourished before even thinking about starting homework.
Kathryn Lord, Child Expert and Founder of More to Organising and More to Books says: “Make sure they have had a healthy brain food snack and provide water.”
A healthy snack is recommended before attempting homework[/caption]
Routine is key
Factoring homework into home life and setting aside regular time is also key.
Kathryn explains: “Always do it at the same time each week, well before the deadline so if it’s tricky or they need extra support there is time.
“Creating habits makes it easier to get into the rhythm.”
Kathryn also recommends having the stationary and other belongings they might need easy to reach – and actually working and ready to use.
She says: “Having sharpened pencils and pens that have ink in saves time.
“Homework should be embedding knowledge that they have been taught in school but sometimes things are tricky.
“Having a dictionary or other books, a calculator or yourself or a siblings around means they learn how to learn rather than just know answers.”
It’s also important to incorporate learning into their everyday life.
Kathryn says: “Learning should be fun!
“If possible, add their learning into your life; head to a museum, watch a show about the topic, get books from the library.
“Also let them play some music [when working] – wordless music is best, for example Disney lullabies or instrumental versions of their favourite soundtracks or musicals.”
Another essential trick is to use positive language around your child when it comes to talking about homework.
Kathryn adds: “Tell them how proud you are that they tried really hard.
“Verbally reward them for getting it done.
“Make sure they know it’s ok not to know everything so they can feel empowered about learning something new.
“It is ok to get things wrong and it’s definitely ok to let the teacher know which parts they found hard.”
Not many children enjoy homework, but there are ways you can make it more palatable[/caption]