Do you struggle with getting your kids to complete their homework assignments? If homework time feels more like battle time, it may be time for a homework routine makeover.
When my son started kindergarten and got his first homework packet, I thought I’d enjoy getting to sit down with him every night to complete his assignments. Boy, was I wrong.
To me, homework seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally find out what he did in school all day. I don’t know about your kids, but my children’s typical response to “how was your school day?” is “I don’t remember.”
To my dismay, homework time didn’t shed any light on what was happening during the school day. In fact, homework time proved to be one of the most difficult times of day in our home.
Homework was a struggle from the day we received our first homework packet. Just getting my wiggly kid to sit still for a few minutes was a challenge. To get him to sit still and complete a sheet of homework proved to be insurmountable on more than a few occasions.
I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I mean, at school he completes his assignments so why couldn’t I get him to do his homework?
After researching homework strategies from the experts, I found that there were several things we were doing wrong.
But the main problem was that we lacked a consistent homework routine.
When we had a bad homework day, we’d sometimes skip days before getting back to homework or we’d try to start homework right before our bedtime routine when our poor child was already exhausted from the day.
What I’ve learned is that a consistent homework routine is essential to helping your kids create healthy and effective homework habits.
When your children know what to expect with homework time each day, they’ll develop the internal motivation to get their homework done.
Of course, there will be days when getting homework done will be a challenge, even with a homework routine. But the struggles with homework will decrease.
Try creating a hassle-free homework routine at home by implementing some of these strategies.
Prioritize Mommy and Me Time Every Day
Children need to have a sense of belonging and significance. When our kids don’t get enough attention from us, their primary caregivers, they will act out. Much of this acting-out is really just a way for our kids to say “mom, pay attention to me!”
Homework time is often a time when attention-starved kids will seek out attention from mom or dad. The best defense against these attention-seeking behaviors is to implement a daily “mommy and me” time.
If your child seems overly needy during homework time, try adding in a daily 10-minute “mommy and me” time to your afterschool routine.
Keep a Written Homework Routine
For my high-energy, easily distracted little guy, I’ve found that keeping a written afterschool schedule helps with setting expectations.
Even as adults, we want to know what to expect. We keep calendars, to-do lists, and organize our day to help reduce overwhelm. Our children need the same type of organization in their lives.
You could also keep a laminated homework routine list. I’m a bit of a laminator nerd and love using my Scotch Thermal Laminator whenever I get the opportunity to do so.
Try out what works for your kids. But getting your kids involved in organizing their day helps foster confidence, independence, and motivation.
Create a Homework Station
Another smart strategy is to have a designated homework location. Your homework station should be somewhere free of distractions, quiet, and comfortable.
Designate a homework station and keep all of the supplies your child will need to complete his or her homework at arms reach.
We have a homework caddy we fill with pencils, erasers, crayons, scissors, glue, and other items my child might need to complete his homework.
If your child is easily distracted like mine, it’s almost impossible to refocus on homework after spending five minutes searching for that green crayon needed to complete his homework.
Another item we have at home near our homework station is our art cart. The art cart is a utility care with wheels and holds all of our art supplies, like paint, stickers, and paper.
Use a Timer
Have you heard of the Time Timer? Oh my goodness, the Time Timer is one of the best inventions ever to help younger children understand time. It is a visual timer that allows your child to see the amount of time that has passed.
My son’s occupational therapist introduced us to this timer a few years ago, and it made a huge difference in motivating him with his morning routine. We now use it in many situations, including homework time.
For homework, you can use it to break up your homework routine. Try setting it for 10-20 minutes and then give your child a break. Let him jump on the trampoline, take a walk, or do some other physical activity before sitting down for the next round of homework.
You can also use it to encourage homework independence. We’ve been implementing “parent office hours” during homework time.
It works like this. We tell our son that homework is his responsibility but that mom and dad are here to help him. During our “office hours,” we answer questions, help him solve problems, and check his work. But we let him complete the bulk of his work on his own.
Now, I’m not going to lie, this was a struggle for us to implement the first few times. But the goal is to promote homework independence and responsibility. And this is a skill that your child will need for the rest of his school career.
Try implementing some of these strategies if you too struggle with getting your kids to complete their homework.
Trust me, I know it’s not easy and you’ll likely have to revisit your routine as your child gets older, but if you set clear expectations, keep a written homework routine, and stay consistent, it will get easier.
Do you have any effective strategies for cutting down on homework struggles in your home? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.