Inside: Stop the tantrums and tears of frustration for your child. Conquer the homework battle at home with these prevention and handling tips.
Tips For Ending The Homework Battle (For Good!)
At some point or other, it’s going to happen: the battle over homework. Kids will throw tantrums, lie about having homework, or sit there and refuse to even pick up a pencil. This is one of the most difficult things for parents, and the homework battle often feels like a losing one.
While you don’t want them to hate school and learning, homework is an important part of their education. But fighting over getting homework done is not worth the time and won’t get you anywhere. You can end the homework battle for good with these tips on avoiding and handling issues over a stubborn kid and homework!
How to Prevent Homework Meltdowns
Before you can work at solving the battle over homework mid-fight, it’s a good idea to learn how you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
Set up a homework routine
One of the most helpful ways to prevent homework battles is by implementing homework as a regular part of the day. The idea here is to shift the mindset that homework is a pain that interrupts the day into it being a normal, everyday thing they need to tick off the to-do list.
The second they get home, many kids believe that it’s time to relax and have free time. This makes them more likely to fight when you tell them they have things to do, like chores or homework. But when they know that homework is a part of every day and occurs at the same time of day, they have no reason to fight it.
Begin implementing a homework routine when things are calm rather than during a homework battle. This helps you get in the legwork beforehand. Write out the exact schedule and put it where everyone can see it, so they know when to expect homework time.
Your kids should still have quiet time even if they have no homework. You don’t want to interrupt the routine and system. During quiet time, rule out the use of any electronics or phones. Instead, your child can use this to study, read, or work on their hobbies.
Implement this routine when they’re very young. While first graders may not have homework, they can still have quiet time. They’ll understand that it’s an important and regular part of the day. This transitions perfectly to homework time when they get older!
Set up the right homework station
Your child needs a quiet environment to get things done. During this time, the whole house needs to respect that it’s homework time. This means no vacuuming, loud music, or video games to distract the child from their work.
Homework should be done in a public space in the house. This ensures you can keep an eye on them and away from any distractions. Homework should not be done in their bedroom, so they don’t get distracted. This also creates a mind shift from relaxing time to working time.
You shouldn’t work in the same place you sleep.
Be in the know
As a parent, getting to know the teachers and all the assignments is a good idea. Make a good relationship with their teachers at the beginning of the school year and keep in touch with them regularly.
This makes a huge difference if your child ends up having any issues. You can ask them to send you overdue assignments or be in quick contact if your child is struggling. Alongside the teacher, you can work to get things done.
Also, work with your child to keep track of assignments. Write them down in a list and their due dates. This also allows you to keep track of big projects they can work on a little bit daily to avoid any time crunches.
How to Win the Homework Battle
While prevention is key, you must also know how to tackle the homework tantrums when you’re in the thick of it. Try these tips to help get a hold of the situation once again.
Sunday night is a school night
One surefire way to get a groan or a homework meltdown is by making your kids do homework on a Friday night. The kickoff to the weekend, they’re excited for some fun and free time from school as soon as they get home on Friday. Let them be kids and never force them to stay in so they can do their homework.
Instead, make Sunday night a homework night. This way, they can have fun during the weekend but wind down and finish things just in time for the next school week.
However, the weekend shouldn’t begin until all overdue assignments are out of the way. This is one of the most effective consequences of getting things done for ultra-stubborn kids. The first time you’ll surely be met with a homework tantrum but stick to your guns.
The next time, they’ll be much more likely to do their homework ahead of the weekend and be tantrum-free.
Reward them for schoolwork
Sometimes a little reward can get kids to finally sit down and finish their homework. The goal here is to only reinforce positive behavior. It should be a good incentive to get good grades. Always hold the power and determine the reward yourself, no negotiating. Surprise them with a reward when they do well rather than promise it to them beforehand!
Keep in mind there’s a big difference between bribing and rewarding your children. A bribe comes from negotiating beforehand, while a reward happens after it’s done. You can’t rely on bribes as they will begin to expect something every time. They will learn that they can get things they want by putting up a fight and then negotiating. Bribes reinforce bad behavior.
Don’t just point your finger and say words you’ll never commit to. Instead, come up with effective consequences that will happen if they refuse to do their homework. For example, “If you don’t finish your homework, you won’t get to use any electronics for the night.”
This forces the child to problem-solve on their own. They then need to figure out how they can get what they want. And if homework is in the way of that, well, it needs to get done! You set them up with what needs to happen and remain in control.
Short consequences work best. They’re more likely to smarten up quickly rather than hold onto instant resentment or anger.
Don’t do their homework for them
As parents, we want to protect them from everything possible. It’s natural to want to see your children succeed! But it becomes a disservice to our children if we do everything for them. They never learn how to truly be independent and get things done on their own.
Watching your child ignore their responsibilities by avoiding their homework can be beyond frustrating. You’ll want to jump in and save the day so they won’t fail. But sometimes, they need to see what happens if they don’t do their homework. Once that bad grade or the consequences of failing come in, they’ll have more motivation on their own.
This doesn’t mean you can’t help them. You can guide the child and make suggestions. Sit with them and help them through the homework, but remember it’s THEIR assignment.
When helping, never use a negative tone or begin arguments over who is right and the best way to do things. You want them to think that you believe in them…which you do! Avoid any type of condescending tone so they never feel less than or a failure.
Refuse to argue
If you’re reading this, the homework battle has worked its way up to tears, tantrums, and frustrations on either end of the battle. It’s so hard not to get worked up and give in to the arguing bait, but staying calm is of the utmost importance.
Be very straightforward in how you talk so there’s no room for discussion. For example, “It’s now homework time. Once you’re done with the math assignment, you can have free time again.”
Try to say it in a supportive way. Ask if they need help or if there’s anything you can do for them. End it by saying the reward for finishing the assignment. AKA, the quicker they’re done, the sooner they can return to fun and free time.
If they refuse and don’t want to cooperate, tell them the consequence of what will happen when they don’t finish their homework. Avoid talking to them about the importance of getting good grades. Chances are, the child won’t care, it’s not on their radar, or they just won’t understand.
If you do feel your own emotions rising, walk away. It’s always better to step away rather than engage in the argument. Take a break and return to the matter once you’ve cooled down.
When every night results in homework tantrums, quit the homework battle for a while. Things need a major change, and it may be time to let it rest between teacher and student while you regroup. This is also part of letting them fail and find out the consequences of their actions on their own.
Consider learning disabilities
There could be a larger reason at hand as to why your child currently struggles to do their homework. While this shouldn’t be the first and initial thought when they begin to struggle, it should be considered after trying other tactics to no avail.
There’s a big difference between working on some difficult homework and struggling. To gauge this, talk to the teacher and see if it’s normal to have these difficulties.
While it may be concerning or difficult to hear your child has a learning disability, supporting them and finding better solutions is important. It will lead to success for your child!
Additional Helpful School & Homework Resources:
- Make A Homework Chart To Keep Your Child On Track!
- Tips For Creating A Homework Routine For Your Child
- What’s the Difference Between Remote Learning & Homeschool?
- How To Identify Your Children’s Reading Levels + Which Books to Read
- 14 Factors That Influence a Child’s Behavior or Trigger Their Misbehavior