I received a random forward from my friend on WhatsApp that spoke about how painful it is to get kids to study during exams. Jisha does not have exams yet owing to the fact that she is still in pre nursery. All that we endure currently is homework. When it comes to homework, there is no ‘One Size Fits All’ since the only similarity that all children have is the fact that they are all different. If they were all the same, the world would have been a very boring place. Similarly, their styles of dealing with homework are also different.
This reminds me of an article that I read a few days back about homework and kids. The way some parents I know treat kids’ homework led me to wonder who owns it – the child or the parent. More than the kids being bothered about it, it is the parents who are utterly stressed out. Constantly nagging, bickering or even shouting. This makes me feel like asking these parents if that nagging ever worked out. A quick deep dive into human and particularly child psychology led me to the fact that praising or rewarding the child for positive behaviour tends to work towards reinforcing it.
The next time you sit with your kid to get them to do their homework, try these points. I do not yet have the stats of how well it works on kids since I am getting around to trying it with Jisha myself. These are all from the article that I read from a known child psychologist.
1. Don’t nag the kid. Do you remember your childhood when you were nagged to finish your homework? Did you finish your homework as a result? What worked back then?
2. Let the kid take the ownership of the task, don’t make it your work. You already have enough to do yourself. This is easier said than done. Work out an understanding with your child that you would monitor his progress closely during every PTA. If there were more than 2 complaints at any given time, then you would cut off certain privileges. Say you would reduce the amount of combined screen time he gets by 30 mins. Or that he would have to give up on his play time.
3. Praise the kid when he does something right like finishing the homework within the stipulated homework time. Praise but don’t overdo it, it loses its meaning. Constantly revise the targets until they are well within the acceptable limits. Then maybe slowly you can wean them out of these habits.
4. Try to emphasize the importance of doing the homework. This is easier than it sounds. Each time the kids sit down to do their homework, you sit down with yours too. This can be done by you taking up say, reading a book while they work or completing writing down those daily accounts that you maintain. This emphasizes the importance of homework once they enter into adulthood as well.
5. Time the homework right. Homework is best done before they go out to play. Set aside a time of 30 mins preferably after your kid has about an hour’s rest after school. This way, not only is your child going to be more enthusiastic but also fresh after a tiring day at school and the reward of going out to play after finishing the homework is going to work the way carrot and stick technique works.
These are the ways that I think will work to make homework a smooth sailing affair. Do you have any ways in which you deal with kids’ homework? Would love to know!
Nirav Thakker is a father to two wonderful girls aged 4 and 2, full-fledged software by product and a gadget junkie. He loves reading and lot of storytelling. He has been blogging for nearly 10 years now at http://www.niravthakker.com/