No matter how you feel about it, your child is likely to receive homework starting as early as kindergarten. A child who is reluctant to do the work misses out on skills practice and the responsibility gained by completing independent work. You may not convince your elementary student that homework is entertaining, but you can make the task easier with motivational strategies.
Set the Stage
A child-friendly spot to complete homework makes the task more comfortable and productive for your student. If you have the room, set up a dedicated homework spot where all of the supplies and tools are kept. A plastic tub filled with office supplies works in a pinch for a temporary homework station. Keep the tub handy so your child can set it up at the kitchen table. A bulletin board with some of her best work is a motivating decoration for the homework area.
Working alone with no one to talk to or see feels isolating for some elementary kids. Stay close by as she does her work to be her cheerleader and motivator. The close proximity means you can keep an eye on her work and help out as needed. Check in on her progress and praise her or offer inspiration to keep pushing forward. Being close also allows your child to share stories from her day or talk about the homework, which may help her remember the concepts better.
Break It Up
After spending all day in school, the idea of sitting longer to do homework is unappealing to many kids. Let your child have some play time when she first gets home if she needs it. She can burn off energy so she is better able to focus on the work. Breaking the homework into chunks can help her stay on task. Set mini goals to complete a certain amount of work before she takes a quick break. Say, "After you finish five more math problems, we'll turn on some music and dance." An activity to do at the end of the homework session is another way to keep her motivated. You might say, "When you're done with all of your work, we'll go to the park to play."
Reward the Work
The idea of receiving a good grade or a sticker from the teacher is enough motivation for some kids, but others need something more. A homework reward system keeps track of your child's hard work with prizes or treats at the end. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests setting goals based on your child's homework problems. For a child who rushes, you might set a goal to slow down and review work to avoid mistakes. Each time your child meets the goal, she earns points toward rewards. The prizes don't have to be expensive. A few extra minutes on the computer or extra play time with friends is often motivating to elementary students.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images