The struggle to get homework done can turn into a battle for many families. Time spent working on even small assignments can stretch into hours, leaving both parents and children upset and frustrated! Creating family homework rules can help families overcome frustrations and alleviate power struggles. The following tips can help you create guidelines for completing homework that may help make evenings more pleasant for the whole family!
1. Work with your child to create guidelines. Discussing homework issues with your child can help them feel involved in the rule-making process – and more likely to follow the guidelines you create. Begin by taking your child to a bookstore, park, coffee shop, or another quiet place where you can sit down and talk. Make sure to emphasize that they aren’t in trouble and that you simply want to discuss how you can better get homework done.
2. Discuss previous homework problems. Ask your child questions about past problems they may have had doing homework, making sure to cite specific examples. Then, use these examples to create new homework rules. The following sample discussion questions can help you and your child create a homework plan together.
• Time: What time should homework be started? Are breaks allowed during homework time? How many and for how long? How late is too late to continue homework time? When should homework be started on the weekends?
• Place: Where can homework be done? Where can it not be done? Can you listen to music while working on homework?
• People: Can friends come over to work on homework together?
• Problems: What happens if homework is not completed?
3. Create a written plan. Writing down the homework plan your family creates gives everyone a visual reminder of the rules. Place a copy on the fridge, where you child works on their homework, and even in school binders or folders. Kids may enjoy creating or decorating a fun poster themselves.
4. Make rules for the whole family. Even if only one child in the family has struggles getting homework done, rules should be applicable to the whole family. Having rules that every child can follow will keep any children from feeling singled out, as well as ensure the rules can grow with your child from year to year.
5. Enforce the rules! Creating thoughtful rules is important, but following through and enforcing the rules is the most important part of any homework plan! Do not create rules that are impossible to enforce. Instead, creating realistic expectations can make homework time more enjoyable for the whole family.