One very clever mom found a way to get her kids to CHOOSE to do homework and avoid homework meltdowns.
If your kids’ after-school routines are at all similar to what my kids did.. they probably attend events, play dates, and sports activities. And then they are tired. Most often the very, very last thing in the world they want to do is homework. So how can you get your kids to be motivated to do their homework?
Here is how I did it and it worked for my family: instead of creating a daily struggle about doing homework, I allowed my kids to make their own decision.
Setting the Ground Work
The path to success begins at a young age, when kids are 4, 5, or 6. During these years, I would constantly explain the cycle of success. Doing homework and studying leads to good grades. Good grades lead to a college degree. And a college degree leads to a well-paid job, and as some kids’ books describe it… a happily ever after.
When my kids didn’t want to do their homework, instead of fighting with them, I rejoiced.
I told them that I completely respected their decision to choose a life of manual labor, and in order to prepare them for their life (which is my duty as a parent) I had a lot of wonderful chores ready for them so they can practice!
I invited my kids to participate in our chore system, they could vacuum; wash the sink, mow the lawn, wash the dishes, dust, and to bring in wood for the chimney.
Setting the Rules
We only had one rule about homework: you have to do it before you get to play.
So if my kids chose to do their homework, they could play afterward. If they chose not to do homework, they had to do chores until they chose to do their homework, or until bedtime. This actually never happened.
Amazingly, my kids somehow always remembered that they had homework! And if they didn’t have homework (for example, in the summertime), they find lapbooks and educational toys at home to continue independent study.
Occasionally Id see idle hands and minds and suggest a chore. At that time, my kids politely explained that they would love to help out, but unfortunately they still had homework to do, are reading an interesting book, or studying up on a topic of their choice. Darn, I had to do a bigger share of the chores! Except when my kids wanted to surprise me with extra help. That happened as well, as my kids were aware of all the chores needed done to run a household and have their own responsibilities. But that’s a whole separate topic!
When Homework Gets Stressful
What did we do when there was simply too much homework and the kids get stressed? Leadership training!
If a project was too much for one person to handle, that person became the leader and they delegated to the rest of their team. I didn’t offer help unless they ask for it. If they did ask for help, we mobilize the team.. ahem.. family. We never did the homework for the leader, but we helped them execute under their leadership. This usually prevented meltdowns, and also encouraged my kids learn how to organize projects, how to prioritize and explain tasks, and how to delegate. And homework would get done on time.
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