I remember excitedly telling my Dad just days before I graduated that I had finished my last ever homework assignment. He responded, “Way to go, kiddo. I am so proud of you!”
What he should have done instead was laugh and warn me that, if I plan on having kids one day, this was just the start. It all just comes full circle, and eventually, you find yourself doing the stuff you did 20 years ago once again.
Once you have kids in school, helping them with their homework is inevitable, but the negative feeling around it doesn’t have to be. Once we intentionally transform our attitudes about homework, we’ll have a better chance of helping our kids toward a positive attitude as well.
Here are three tips of how my kids and I have worked to rebrand homework in our house:
Take the time to figure out the right atmosphere and time for homework—for each child
Each of your kids is different, and they’re all different from you! So, one method might work for one while another will prove successful for another. Figuring out the ideal setting and schedule will take some trial and error.
Time: Some kids need a break between school and homework to give their brain a rest, so it’s better if they do something else first. Try different times, and see which one seems to be the most positive. Other kids like to do it right after school so that they are free to have fun once their finished.
Bonus Tip: If any of your kids are the type who needs to take a break, don’t let it be electronics – TV, video games, iPad – as their brain is still stimulated and, therefore, not receiving any rest. They should play outside, a sport, or a board game. If screen time occurs, you’re only making it tougher for both of you come homework time.
Atmosphere: Some work better in complete silence while others need some white noise in the background. Make sure you’re not focusing on your preferences. The better their environment is, the more quickly they’ll finish, and you can have family time in the evening.
Dispel the myth that homework is some evil plan to make kids miserable.
I remember when my oldest child first got homework and said, “Mom, I’ve been at school all day. Why do I have to come home and do more school?!”
I had never thought of it this way before, but what came out of my mouth was this: “Buddy, this isn’t about your teachers giving you more work to do. This is so you can show us what you’re learning.”
And I’ll tell you, it has revolutionized how homework time goes. “Who’s ready to show me what you learned at school today? I can’t wait to see!”
My kids are thrilled to show off what they’ve learned, and you have to go all in. Put away your phone, and focus on them completely. Be enthusiastic, giving high fives and letting your jaw drop in response to what they say.
Ask them questions even if you know the answer so that they have the opportunity to teach you. The more present you are, the more present they will be too.
Even when we finish formal education, none of us should ever stop learning. It’s a lifetime activity. The more you train them to love it, the more likely your children will grow up to be leaders, because leaders are learners.
Honestly, we still have some days that are tougher than others. And it took time for this procedure to settle in. But overall, homework has become our friend instead of our enemy in my house. So, hang in there, Moms! It’s worth it