Five Ways To Tackle Homework Without Tears

14 September 2015


Hands up if your child’s home work has ever reduced you to tears? Yup, me too, and apparently we’re not alone.

One in three parents admit to being confused by their children’s home work, according to new research.

The Mail reports:

New research has also revealed that a shocking one in five (20 per cent) mothers and fathers pretend to know the answer before going online to research the question.

More than half (55 per cent) of parents spend more than 40 hours a year trying to keep up with the latest school curriculum.

Despite this, 36 per cent of parents feel completely unable to assist their kids with homework leading to feelings of embarrassment and anxiety when they cannot help.

Now I don’t know what the heck that 55% of parents are up to when they say they’re trying to keep up with the latest school curriculum, but I am totally with the 36% who feel anxious and embarrassed that they can’t help. I don’t think I’ve ever pretended to know the answers though; I mean, how would that help?!

The research, commissioned by Butlins also found that one in ten parent (nine per cent) seek advice from other parents via social media when it comes to solving tricky homework troubles.

Yep, I’ve done that, too.

Thankfully, my kids are reaching an age where they mainly get on with their homework by themselves, thank goodness, but I well remember the days when the three of us would be reduced to tears by seemingly nonsensical maths equations. And don’t even get me started in project assignments.

Here are my top five tips for tackling homework without tears:

1. Sort out your snacks
We all know that a little treat of some sort helps us feel better about tackling tasks that we don't really enjoy. I highly recommend serving up a little snack before asking your kids to knuckle down to do their homework. Obviously it's better if it's not loaded with sugar, but a little pick me up in the form of a healthy home-made milkshake can help get the old brain cells firing on all cylinders.

2. Set a timer
There's nothing worse than a homework session which drags on... and on... and on. To avoid this, set a timer for a reasonable period (relevant to the age of your child and how long the school suggests they ought to be spending on homework) and ensure that you all take a break when that time us up. If the home work isn't complete by then, take a breather before trying to tackle it again. Even reluctant students are likely to feel a bit more motivated if they're trying to beat the clock rather than facing the prospect of hours of homework.

3. Create a homework-friendly work station
You only have to search Pinterest for some brilliant hacks and ideas for creating the perfect homework sanctuary. (Watch out though, that's a serious time-suck, too, and could leave you feeling horribly inadequate...) And while getting your study area 'just so' can be an act of procrastination in itself, ensuring that your child has everything they need at hand and someone warm, comfortable and free from distractions can go a long way to making the whole experience of homework less painful.

4. Get homework done as soon as possible
I know this won't be popular with everyone, and some kids will have the kind of temperament that simply needs a break before they can crack on with homework but I've learned (the hard way, believe me) that my lads deal with homework better if they get it out of the way as soon as they get home. I also hate that stressful feeling that simmers away beneath the surface if I spend all evening waiting for my kids to get started on their homework, whereas getting it done right away leaves them free to have fun for the rest of the afternoon.

5. Have post-homework rewards
It doesn't really matter whether this is a sticker, a bit of down-time infront of the TV or some quality time with you, but setting out a reward to be enjoyed once homework is complete will both motivate your child to crack on with it, and help them let off steam once it's completed. Try not to threaten to remove the reward, no matter how strung out your child might get over their homework, and try to keep in mind that overseeing your child's homework is as much about teaching them how to approach studying as it is about getting it done. The skills your child learns during these early homework sessions can actually help shape their whole approach to studying in later life. No pressure, then!

Above all, try not to let homework stress escalate - if it's not going well, don't hesitate to raise the issue with your child's teacher. Better to fail to complete the occasional homework assignment than for your child to come to associate homework with horrible stress and upset.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips

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