For most children, homework is a chore. Unless you have a child who is highly committed to schoolwork, chances are they find it difficult. The issue is not so much the content, but the fact that they lack motivation.
In this article, we’ll explore 7 steps to reducing the stress that comes with homework.
Questions to Ask Yourself
When your child has homework, is he/she able to get it done in a timely manner without stressing out? Or is it an uphill battle every night? If you’ve answered yes to the second question, there are some things that you will want to consider. Ask yourself the following questions to get a feel for the situation.
- Are you having to provide homework help on a regular basis?
- Have you scheduled a conference with your child’s teachers?
- Have you tried giving gentle encouragement/pep talks?
- Do you end up using harsh reprimands?
The truth is, these will rarely work alone- and pep talks and/or reprimands will only build up resistance to schoolwork and homework. This means the battle will get harder and only create more frustration.
However, don’t fret. There are some things you can do to “re-program” the attitude and approach that your child has in regard to homework.
7 Steps to Bust Homework Stress
Following, we are going to explore 7 steps to help you and your child power through homework stress.
Stop talking about doing homework
Instead of talking about homework, focus on discussing how he/she is approaching their homework assignments. Lead your child to take a step back and think about how they are approaching their homework. This can help create more effective homework habits.
Determine how much pressure your child is under
Talk with your child to try to find out how much pressure they are under in regard to homework. Ask him/her these questions:
- Do you worry what your friends will think/say if you do/don’t do your homework?
- Are you struggling with the homework and don’t feel that you’re clever enough to complete it?
- Do you like to struggle with your homework every day- or do you want to find a way out from under the stress of homework?
Be open & honest and allow you child to do the same
Even if you disagree with what your child is saying, don’t dismiss their thoughts or feelings on this matter. Their feelings are valid, no matter what you think. Allow your child the respect to express themselves. Then, you can express what your thoughts and feelings are on the matter- without coming across as judgmental or tyrannical. If you dismiss how your child is feeling or thinking, you will only reinforce that attitude- which will make things that much worse.
Acknowledge that homework isn’t easy
Help your child to understand that by resisting their homework, it makes the issue that much bigger. The longer they fight doing their homework, the less time they will have to have fun or relax before bed.
If you can change their negative attitude, you’ll find they are more willing to work positively and creatively. If they can develop a positive approach to homework, they’ll be able to get it out of the way quicker, which will bust the stress that comes with homework assignments.
Be available to tutor your child
As your child is working on their homework assignments, make yourself available to help them approach the problems. However, don’t give them the answers. If they’re working on something that you’re not familiar with, let them know and then work together to figure it out. Make sure that you praise them for what they are doing.
Never be afraid to look foolish. This will help them see that the work is difficult and once they complete it, they’ll have an increased sense of achievement.
“Reprogramming” should be done during homework time- but not if there are time constraints
If you plan to “reprogram” your child, they should have the ability to stop/start as much as they need and be able to discuss any issues they are having. Ideally, you may want to start on a slow weekend. You don’t want to try to work on this when you’ve already got a cram-packed schedule.
Don’t label it as “special” time. Your child should view it as a typical homework session- but you do need to make sure that you’re talking to them and focusing on their resistance to the work. This isn’t something that’s going to happen immediately- it is a process. At some point, you will see the attitude change. Their resistance will be reduced- and may even be eliminated- and they’ll develop a positive attitude.
Be aware of what you should focus on
Finally, you must keep in mind that the focus of this is not necessariliy to “get the work done.” You are going to have some starts/stops along the way as you and your child should work together to find the best solution to approaching homework.
Be sure that you allow them to express their thoughts/feelings. This will help bring out their limiting beliefs/feelings and guide them to finding their own solution.
Even in the best of times, homework can be a chore. For some children, it’s a daily battle- they resist it. This ends up causing their stress levels to get out of control. However, there are several things you can do to bust homework stress. Try these and it’ll be smooth sailing- but it’s going to take work, it won’t happen overnight.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Krista Mounsey