By Daddy Nickell
If you have kids in grade school then you know first hand how challenging it can be to get your children to do their homework without a fight. Well with six kids of my own (and one more on the way) I’ve learned a thing or two about homework.
Teaching your child the importance of education at a young age and encouraging good study habits will help them throughout college and beyond.
Routines are Key: Together with your child, develop a schedule and an after school routine that will work for both of you. Discuss the things your child feels are most important and allow time for those activities within the schedule or routine, too. Every kid is different and one set schedule doesn’t work for every child; so figure out what will work for you and allow for an hour (give or take depending on age) of homework time every evening. Once you solidify the routine, stick to it for a few weeks. If it seems to be working poorly, reevaluate it with your child to create something better. If it’s working well, encourage your child to continue.
Create a Special Space: It’s important for your children to have a homework space that’s away from the television, cell phones and other distractions. Designate a homework area just for your child! Involve them in the design of the space by taking them shopping for a desk, lamp, organizational system or something special that they pick out to be a part of their homework space. If they enjoy the space, they’ll be more likely to spend time working on their homework.
Do Your Part: While your child is doing their homework you shouldn’t be in the other room watching television or playing a game; that will distract your child. At the same time you probably don’t want to be sitting right next to them the entire time (depending on their age). You want to make sure they’re working at it on their own, while knowing you’re just outside the door or in the next room should they need some extra support or encouragement. Utilize your child’s quiet homework time to do the dishes, fold laundry or read a book.
Reward: There are lots of reward systems you can recreate easily within your household. I personally like giving my children small rewards while they work towards something greater. If your child really wants to go to Disneyland, for example, you could decide to pay them a quarter for every hour of homework time. They can save their quarters to pay for something special at Disneyland. Prior to beginning this system lay down the ground rules; decide upon how many quarters they’ll need to earn before you’ll take them on their special trip. And just as important, outline any actions or bad homework practices will warrant your child to lose a quarter.
Whatever you do, encourage your child to study and do their homework everyday. It’s not always the most fun activity, but an education helps pave the way to a bright future.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 6, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.