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Many parents find getting their children to do homework challenging. For some children school = work and home = fun. Some children will question the fairness: “But mum, I’ve spent 6 and a half hours at school doing work. Why do I have to do school work at home too?” Others may feel that they simply have better things to do and resist your efforts. In these instances you may need to simply stand your ground, set good routines in place and practice patience!
For some children though other factors may be at play that impact on them being willing or able to do their homework. Just three to start with:
- The level of homework that is given to your child may be too difficult.
- Your child is physically and mentally tired after a long day at school.
- Your child is feeling stressed by homework and their own internal need for it to be “perfect”.
How then do we tackle such behaviours?
First and foremost, we have to determine the function of behaviour. In other words, why does the child not want to do their homework. Was the task too difficult? Does it have something to do with a skill deficit (e.g. the child simply can’t do it)?
Some of the things that we can look into include:
- Breaking down the work into small achievable steps (learning to deal with money require other skills such as coin recognition, addition and subtraction, coin value – more and less, etc.).
- Place small demands (10 minutes of homework before play time and increase expectation slowly).
- Have strong reinforcers in place (if the child sits down and does 10 minutes of homework for a week, he gets to pick a fun activity to do over the weekend).
- Communicate with the child’s teacher to see they are able to provide homework that is catered to their current level.
- Sit down and spend time with your child. Your attention may be more valuable than anything else.
For our some children the underlying issue may be straightforward. For others, it may be more complex hence the need to work through barriers.
For children in our ABACAS program, your program manager is there to help work through these issues with you. They can sit with you an objectively have a look at what is happening and work with you to put some steps in place to ease the transition back into a positive homework routine.
Assistant Program Manager