Dad: Jimmy, please do your homework
Mom: Time for homework, dinner is almost ready!
Dad: Jimmy, turn off that game and come do your homework NOW!
Oh. Oh. And this is only the second week of school. Only 39 more weeks of pushing and prodding to get homework going (just like last year…).
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s start this school year on the right foot
My friend (and award-winning author), Ann Dolin, wrote a book a couple of years ago: “Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions to Stress-Free Homework“.
In a recent interview*, she mentioned a few strategies to make homework time happen without the daily tears.
The three tips Ann shared to avoid homework time drama are:
1. Stick to the same time every day
Ann recommends an earlier homework time for younger children (frankly, I’d rather get homework over with sooner rather than later).
Also, she mentions that it’s best to allow children about 30 minutes of downtime after coming back from school before starting homework. And I’d be careful of allowing any TV or video games at this time as it is very, very hard to break their attention from them.
Instead, I suggest a physical activity (ideally outdoors) for 30-45 minutes before calling them back into the house for homework time. If the kids have sports or other activities right after school, they could start their homework right after coming home.
The main idea is to create a routine which will help with reducing any “negotiations”.
And speaking of routine, let’s talk about a place to do homework.
2. Where to do homework
Ann mentions that there has been research indicating that varying the locations for doing homework is beneficial for children.
It may be that research says that, but it seems counter-productive to me. I would rather keep a strong routine by sticking to the same spot (perhaps a desk with all the necessary supplies), and away from tempting distractions.
Which brings us to Tip #3:
3. Eliminate distractions
Some distractions are worse than others, but having the TV on, or the phone buzzing with instant messages from friends are definitely too difficult for anyone to resist.
Perhaps you can use that highly desired screen time as a reward for them having completed their homework.
Find more tips inside Ann’s book
* If you are interested in learning more strategies for reducing Homework Drama, here is Ann’s recent radio interview on WTOP:
Buy Ann’s award-winning book “Homework Made Simple” here