1. Make Homework a Priority.
Set a time of the day aside for homework and don’t stray (often). If homework is something your kids have to squeeze in between karate, piano lessons and soccer practice, they’re not going to think of it as important. And, unless you really enjoy overdramatic tears and hearing every excuse in the book, avoid doing homework right before bedtime at all costs.
2. Eat Your Vegetables Before Dessert.
You need to use leverage to get some kids to do anything. Do they love television? Computer games? Guitar Hero? Unplug it all until homework is done. You can even exchange homework time for something they love: 15 minutes of effective homework time = 15 minutes with their beloved plugged-in whatnot.
3. Time It.
Time slams to a crawl for many kids when faced with a stack of papers and a #2 pencil. Set a timer for 15 minutes and, when it dings, tell your child to take a quick break to stretch, get a drink of water or collapse on the floor and moan “I hate doing homework” over and over again. Really active kids may need to run around the house before they get back to the books.
4. Sit Yourself On Down.
Doing homework can suck on its own. It’s even worse when your child is hunched over the books alone thinking that the rest of the family is having a party in the other room. Sit with your child, review the work, encourage and help (but don’t you dare do the homework yourself!). If you must get things done, at least get your child in the same room so you can answer questions as you make dinner or pay bills.
5. Throw Them Out of the Nest to Fly, Baby, Fly.
There comes a time when kids have to accept that homework is their responsibility. So, if you’re really tearing your hair out and aging prematurely due to the nightly fighting, it may be time to let your little bird fly on its own. Let your child go to school with an unfinished assignment and accept the consequences. Collaborating with the teacher ahead of time may insure an appropriate response to “the dog ate my homework”.