The Teacher is Talking: Getting the Homework Done

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By Leslie Lindsay

Ooops!  My “homework” is late, teacher!  (Yesterday was a crazy-busy day for us, and therefore I did not get to my regular blogging).  But what should you do when your kid can’t seem to get her homework in on time?!

Piffle.  If I had the answer, I guess I wouldn’t be writing this…for I can’t seem to figure out the best answer, at least for our family yet.  But I do have some ideas.  They may work for you:

  • Have your child do her homework at the same time and at the same place every day.
  • Immediately afterwards, have her slip it back into her “school” folder and into her backpack.
  • Done and done!

But not so fast…what’s that, your prodigy doesn’t like doing homework?  I can’t imagine.  Humm.  And therein lies the problem.

  • Give your child some down-time before delving into the backpack.  Allow a little outside rough and tumble play, a snack, television, 1:1 time with you, etc.  Give it a time limit, say 20-40 minutes, or whatever feels right to you.
  • Have a routine for getting that homework done.  Same place and same time often work, but not always due to various family schedules and obligations.
  • Make it fun!  I know, it’s hard.  Perhaps you can make a game of it by timing her, or giving her an incentive like 15 minutes of craft or video playing time for every 15 minutes of focused homework time.
  • Allow her to forget her homework sometimes.  This is what educators and psychologists refer to as “natural consequences.”  I love this approach because it works.  You can only be the hovering parent so many nights of the week.  Your child knows she has an assignment and it’s ultimately their responsibilty, so treat it as such.  One day of not doing the homework, of not turning it in, and getting in trouble at school can be the motivator the next time.  Try it, it may work.

For more information on natural consequences, look to “Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years,” by Drs. Jim and Charles Fay.  They have another book for older kids, but their approaches are generally the same.

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