Have your child preview homework and then take a break
Elementary School, High School, Middle School, Parent Tips, School Advice

Have Your Child Preview Homework and Then Take a Break

Sometimes it can be intimidating to start homework if we know (or we think we know) that we don’t know how to do the homework and so we avoid that. But just previewing the homework, we don’t have to really worry that we don’t know how to do it. And then our brain does this amazing thing: while we are having a break doing other stuff, our brain is thinking about how to solve those problems. So by the time we start our homework, we actually have some ideas on how to approach that tough math question or what to write about for that essay.

So often helping kids with homework feels more like nagging them to just sit down and do their homework. That stinks. It’s really no fun for parents or kids. So how do you shift from being the homework nag to your kid’s homework coach? Fireborn’s got 6 tips for you on how to stop being a homework nag so that homework becomes, dare we say it, potentially a pleasant, collaborative, relationship-building opportunity instead of an all out fight!

How do you shift from being the homework nag to your kid’s homework coach?

  1. Preview the work with your kid and then take a break.
  • Do something fun on the break.
  • There is no pressure during this break.
  • While they are having a break doing other stuff, their brain is thinking about how to solve those problems.
  • Now, by the time they start homework, they actually have some ideas on how to approach the tough questions.
  1. Establish a study time habit.
  • Have a specific spot (that your child chooses) to do homework.
  • Have a routine to start the work.
    • Examples: eat a snack, put on classical music, or exercise.
  • Try to start at the same time every day.
  1. Ask your child to just do short bursts of homework.
  • It is less intimidating to do 10 minutes of work than to do all of the work for a subject.
  • “Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part and once your child has started, he can decide that he wants to keep reading.”
  1. Make sure your child gets breaks.
  • “Powering through is not actually a thing. And it’s really bad for your brain.”
  1. Help your child develop intrinsic motivation to do homework.
  • There are three parts to internal motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose
  • Autonomy- the want to be in charge.
    • To give them autonomy with homework, you can try letting them choose…
      • What time or place they do their homework.
      • The order in which they decide to do their homework.
      • What music they listen to.
    • Mastery- the want to do things that we are good at and that we want to get better at
      • To give them mastery with homework…
        • Make sure to celebrate the small wins.
        • Give your child as many opportunities to get better at stuff that they like, both with homework and extracurricular activities.
      • Purpose- the want to do things that matter
        • To help them with purpose for their homework…
          • Have your child set personal academic goals and plans for the year.
            • These goals should explain how and when the child will accomplish these goals. The more specific the goal and the plan, the better.
  1. Assume good will!
  • “Taking a breath and remembering your child wants to do right by you will help adjust your mindset so you can respond more effectively when your child is avoiding studying for that exam.”

By doing these things, instead of nagging your child, you’re actually teaching her strategies for how to study when you aren’t there to nag her.

You can learn more on The Happy Student Podcast Episode#55: How to Not Be a Homework Nag!