Five ways to make homework painless

Do you dread that moment when you have to nag your kids to get their textbooks out? Our tips, sourced from teachers, parents and even children, will make homework less of a chore for everyone.

Lots of parents secretly admit to having the same feelings of dread and resistance towards their children’s homework as their kids do. There are so many distractions – computer games, round-the-clock TV, ANYTHING other than homework, to be honest. But with these five savvy tactics we can combat kids’ resistance – and that will make our own lives a lot easier as well!

Take the hard work out of homework

  • Set time boundaries
    You don’t have to cancel all the fun – but you can set a routine that allows the kids to be kids while making sure they know when it’s homework time. Put the TV on a timer switch. After one hour it switches off – then it’s homework time.
  • Make it mouth watering
    Try coinciding snack time with homework – that way they are lured to the table, and eventually, like Pavlov’s dogs, they’ll connect homework time with rewards. Try our healthy After-School Treats to entice them without making them hyperactive.
  • Keep things fun
    For younger children, teachers usually only expect them to go over work they are doing at school as a refresher, so they can have more fun with it. If they are reading or spelling words let them do it in funny voices, or let them colour in their homework using coloured pens rather than boring old pencil. Look out for interesting events that can make subjects more exciting, such as this month’s British Science Week.
  • Be firm but sympathetic
    For older children who have more work, show them that you sympathise with their load. Set aside a specific time in the evening or weekend and reassure them that you’re not going to pile on lots of chores as soon as it’s done – cut them some slack.
  • Limit computer distractions
    If you find it hard to get the kids off the computer and in front of their books, hide the mouse, keyboard and games controller while they’re at school – that will make them get their work done quickly once they’re home. If they’re working on a computer, you can also put a time blocker on social media with an app like Stay Focused to keep distractions to a minimum. Also make sure they switch off any extra devices like phones or tablets while they’re working.

Savvy tip

Some children will do the bare minimum they can get away with. Others overdo it and spend all evening fretting about their homework. Know your child, and help then find a balance. If they have several subjects in one evening, spend 20 minutes on each. Teachers like to see SOME work even if it’s not finished.

How do you keep your kids focused on school work? Share your tips in the comments below.