Reduce Homework Hassles Now


Take these 6 steps to reduce power struggles with your child over homework and reduce your stress.

Often times, when your child has homework, so do you!

You many find yourself cajoling or even arguing with your child about getting homework done. There may be power struggles or tears. Your child may be saying, “I can’t do this” or “I won’t do this!”

Daily struggles with homework end up being stressful for everyone.

To make the homework hour at your house less stressful and to help your child be more successful in completing it, follow these six guidelines that help your child develop a “homework habit” so homework becomes a ritual that's done without procrastination.
Getting your child’s buy-in at each of these stages also helps to reduce power struggles about doing homework.

1. Determine, with your child, a consistent place to do homework.

Experiment with your child to find a place that she feels most comfortable doing homework. It could be at the kitchen table, on the floor in your family room, on a bean bag chair in the bedroom, or at a desk in the home office.  When your child finds a place that's the best for doing homework, stick with it!

2. Determine whether your child needs to be near you, or can work independently.

Some children need to have solitude to concentrate best. Others need to be near a parent. Yet others do better with a homework buddy. Again, work with your child on determining what situation best meets his needs. Keep other siblings who are too young or don’t have homework away from your child by setting them up with another activity.

3. Monitor the noise level during homework time.

Some children need it totally quiet to concentrate.  Other children can handle background noise. Yet other children will actually benefit from playing background music. Several studies suggest that listening to Baroque music actually enhances the learning experiences of some children, particularly those who are auditory learners. (Baroque music includes composers like Bach, Handel and Vivaldi from the mid-1500s to mid-1700s.)

4. Find a consistent time to do homework.

Ideally, a child should do homework at the same time every day, so rituals can be developed that prevent procrastination. Short of that, you can at least develop a daily schedule. For instance, on Monday, homework is done right after Girl Scouts. On Tuesdays, homework is done before piano lessons, etc. Your child should put the schedule in her planner. If your child doesn’t have assigned homework one day, still have her study or read during the time allotted.

Most kids appreciate having a break after school. Consider letting your kids have a snack, play outside, or do some other enjoyable activity before they start doing homework.

Also, think outside the box. If your child is an early riser, perhaps she can do homework before school in the morning.

5. Develop a homework "basket."

Gather together all of the supplies that you and your child think he will need to do homework this year. Put pencils, erasers, a ruler, a calculator, scissors, tape, etc. in a basket that’s used exclusively for homework. Keep the basket nearby the homework "station" that you and your child pick and it’ll be easy to get started and keep going without needing to hunt for supplies.

6. Keep the TV and cell phone off.

Be sure to prohibit TV viewing during homework time.  Also, consider having your child turn off their phone  until homework is complete. The fewer distractions your child has, the more efficient s/he will be in completing it.

These are some ideas to help get you and your child started on completing homework without a lot of hassles.

Toni Schutta is a Parent Coach with 18 years' experience helping parents find solutions that work. Get the complimentary Quick Start Report, "3 Essential Strategies for Getting Your Kids to Listen the First Time" here: