“The Way Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” – Walt Disney
Sometimes it seems that it is an uphill battle with homework, especially if your child is struggling in certain areas. How to motivate my child to learn? These are some strategies that will make those homework times a bit easier.
Setting up a Routine
While this may not seem like a motivator, when kids know what to expect they can get right down to it. Start at the same time each day and keep an area set up that has all the materials needed close by for doing their work. Include something fun at the end. You can have a quick special game that you save to the end when their work is done. Then they will have something to look forward to during their work.
Setting up a reward system
Reward systems can be simple or a complex. How you set it up will depend on your child and what works best for them. A simple system, as mentioned above, would be a special game or activity at the end of each homework time. Complex systems can be set up involving point systems where your child can earn points and different activities will be worth more or fewer points. For example, picking their favorite game might not cost a lot of points, but an outing to their favorite place would mean they would have to save up their points to get their reward. The system can be part of a bigger system which might include other chores, or you may just want to have one system for their homework.
With the sandwich approach, you start with something easier for your child, then do the hard work and finally end with something easier again. In this way getting started is easier and you will end on a high note.
Take Mini Breaks
Sometimes when we focus for too long, we can lose our momentum and we just need a break. If something is really hard for your child, taking breaks will be very important. Schedule in short fun breaks with a bit of activity into your homework time. This is not the time to start an elaborate game, but maybe they just need to run up the stairs or shoot a few baskets before coming back to their work. Just be sure to set up boundaries for the breaks. As long as they know that there are only a set number of breaks and once they are used up then they will have to keep on working for their allotted time.
Give them Choices
Giving your child choices can help to keep their motivation up. Give choices for what they work on, their reward or for break times. They might prefer one long break or two shorter ones but giving them the choice allows them to start to regulate how they are doing on their work. Your child might choose to get the hard work done first and then work on the easier tasks. If your child is avoiding the harder tasks however, you might want to go with the sandwich approach where they can choose between two easier tasks, one for the beginning and one for the end. In that way, they will still have a choice but at the same time tackle the harder tasks as well.
Tag team it
Sometimes, having a different person help whether it is a partner or a friend can make a difference. Perhaps you can arrange for a friend to swap evenings and homework duty or with your partner arrange different days when you will help. Doing this may give just that different perspective that is needed for a change. If your child is really struggling and you can afford it, you may wish to invest in having a tutor come once or twice a week.
Get creative and have some fun!
Sure, homework is not all fun, but you can intersperse it with fun, learning activities in a routine that will help your child engage and motivate them to do the hard work. Routines and systems will be the key to success.
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” —Anonymous