“It takes us an hour to do one piece of homework that should only take 10 minutes! AND by the time we finally finish, I feel like a horrible parent for threatening, yelling, and losing my mind. Will we always have these homework struggles? My kid is only in Kindergarten!!!”
Those were the words of a mom who came to me for coaching around these homework battles that happened daily.
While we might not all have hour long struggles with our kids over homework, any of us with a grade school kid knows that getting a kid to do homework is no walk in the park.
When intense emotions, sensory differences, or anxious feelings are added into the mix, it’s more like trudging through a sea of mud with iron boots and 5 children on your back.
Ok maybe not that bad, but some days, it feels like it.
4 Surefire Tips to Avoid Homework Struggles
While I’ll be the first to say there isn’t a magic fairy dust potion to sprinkle on everything and make it perfect, I will say that homework struggles can decrease drastically by implementing a few simple strategies.
Be sure to check out even more of my helpful parenting tips, too!
The 4 Surefire Practices to Avoid Homework Struggles
Do a warm up first.
Find something your child can do easily, and start with that. It acts like a warm up for the brain.
Just like in sports, you wouldn’t go for all the big complicated skills before doing a quick jog around the field. The brain is the same way.
Going back to the basics and doing something easy might feel like a waste, but it’s not.
Taking just a few minutes to do something basic will help sharpen fundamental skills, and also give a child the feeling of accomplishment.
When they start out excited and feeling accomplished, the rest can go much more smoothly.
For two years I had my kids do these great Pre-Writing Skills Activity sheets as a warm up which proved to be really fun and honed in on some of those fine motor skills they would otherwise resist.
Do a little movement before.
School is long and takes a lot out of many kids.
Being able to come home and have a little time to recharge can be so great for kids.
I’ve had students tell me they switched homework time from after school to early morning.
Others decided to do it after dinner.
Be flexible and allow your child to help you think of a solution that works for everyone. Activities like these 80 powerful activities that calm, focus and alert are great for getting the body and brain recharged to be able to think again.
Talk to your child about what is hard and accept their answer.
I think of the time my daughter was trying to read something and kept saying “I can’t see it.”
In my mind her eyes worked just fine, and I could have assumed she was just trying to get out of doing the work.
Because we went with what she said, I found out she has HORRIBLE vision and needed glasses. Problem solved.
While I won’t assume all whines and complaints are valid, if we just empathize with what our kids are saying, often we get to the root of what’s really happening.
Keep it consistent.
Ugh, I know that word gives me chills just saying it.
When I say consistency, I don’t mean push through the homework struggles and your kid will eventually catch on.
Nope! Just the opposite actually.
Find a time, a way to do homework that works for you and your child and stick with it.
You do you. Whatever works in your home, do it and stick with it. We all do better when we know what to expect.
When sensory differences, big emotions, and anxious feelings creep into our home life and create massive homework struggles, life can feel miserable. I get it! Trust me.
By taking a slightly different approach, and figuring out what works for you and your family, the struggles can decrease or even end completely.
I’ll never forget when one student came to me saying “the homework struggles that drove me nuts every day are now gone after I talked to my son about better times to do homework.
While I used to have to bribe, threaten, and yell to get homework done, now it feels so much easier. It’s not perfect, but it’s SO much better.”
What’s your #1 homework tip that helps you avoid homework struggles? Comment below so we can all learn together!
About the Guest Author
This post originally appeared on WendyBertagnole.com and is reprinted with permission.
With an undergraduate degree in child development, and a master’s degree in special education, this foundation was a springboard for Wendy in helping kids and families to see the root of any challenges they face.