Getting Homework Done

Have you ever wondered how to make the limited time you have with your children more pleasant? Does homework get in the way of your otherwise cheerful relationship with your child? Are you finding that your kids would do anything to keep from having to do their homework after school? Many families struggle with making homework a natural part of the week’s activity. How can you get homework done without all the nagging, hassling and stress that often accompanies it?


The nagging and stress only make the problem worse. When we resort to reminding our children several times a day to do anything, we can almost guarantee that their feet will begin to drag. School work continues to be an important part of life but if children are struggling with any subject, they will bring their discouragement home. If that discouragement encounters stressed-out parents at home, the problem only gets worse.


Dr. Charles Fay provided an audio resource recently called, Winning the Homework Battle. His blog on the subject contained a startling statement: “The brain learns and develops best within the context of loving and safe relationships.”


A child cannot focus on homework if they fear getting into trouble when it is not done to the parent’s satisfaction. Tensing up every time you walk by is a sure sign that safety has left the room. It’s not that you are actually a threat. The last thing your child wants is to lose your approval. The homework is enough to dread without the added pressure of what failing might do to your relationship.


Making any activity fun is a sure solution to the stress it would otherwise bring. From potty training to homework to reading to practicing music, kids learn best when they feel supported and encouraged rather than criticized and scolded.


Dr. Fay recommends that parents continue reading to their children throughout life. They may not sit in your lap anymore like they did as toddlers but hearing words flow from a parent’s lips is more fun than hearing a parent badger them about when they are going to get their reading done!


Homework is practice—like throwing a ball, playing an instrument or any other skill! Anything we can do to make this another loving experience will go a long way toward encouraging the practice to continue. The conversation while playing catch makes practice more fun. Playing a little music while homework is being done can lighten the atmosphere. Saying encouraging things when they remember to do their homework is more effective than nagging them about getting started. When we use kind and loving words to communicate with our children, they relax and resume life without all the stress of wondering what discipline they will receive next.


Let an encouraging approach to homework expand to other parts of your interaction. Practice saying encouraging things rather than focusing on how your children are embarrassing you at the store or what they could do to be more perfect. When everyone can relax and enjoy life, love and safety can become the seed bed for learning, healthy development and strong relationships.

Dr. Matt Crain writes weekly for the Sunday newspaper from his Connecting Fathers and Families ministry.