Monday, 25 April 2016
How to beat those homework blues!
The longer evenings are here but school’s not quite out for summer. With another two months plus for the primary schools still to go, homework is still very much on the agenda. Doe eyed children gaze wistfully out the window these evenings, in between giving their brothers and sister a sly dig, longing to be free with their lightsabers and dreaming of a galaxy far far away. To help make homework a little less stressful and hopefully get it finished that little bit more quickly I am sharing my top five tips for taking on the time of day that we all dread…….
1. Make sure the kids have a snack, get changed, use the bathroom etc, to ensure whatever little opportunities to escape the task in hand that might be proposed by unwilling participants, are taken care of in advance!
2. Decide prior to beginning, who is doing their homework where, before any arguments start. If, like me, you have more children than tables, some of your kids may need to share a homework space. Use the force, or your mammy inside info if you prefer, to know which pairings are likely to result in least distraction and prove to be most productive.
3. Make sure the homework area is as clutter free as possible. A clear desk leads to a clear mind (and those of you who know me can stop laughing now). It will also help you avoid being called 20 times in the space of 5 minutes to locate a “missing” maths book which is just buried beneath the weekend newspapers!
4. In this house, stop – starting homework doesn’t really work. Where possible try to allow for a straight run at the homework. Set a realistic target time for the amount involved and don’t allow your child to go over that. Explain in advance that you will be stopping them after 45 minutes, 1 hour or whatever time you have set and stick to it. Kids can take as long as they’re allowed to especially if you have daydreamers. Setting the clock gives them a timeframe to work within.
5. Positive reinforcement. We hear this term brandished about all the time but it can be a very effective tool when trying to encourage your children to get stuck in and get it done, properly! Whether it’s a comment about how well they are working or the promise of playing outside when they’re finished the carrot definitely works better than the stick here. Even if you feel like banging your head off a wall with frustration about how things are going, try to keep things positive. It can mean the same thing effectively but it’s the way you phrase it that matters. “If you finish that in the next fifteen minutes you can go outside and play with your friends” is much more likely to motivate your child than “you’re not going out with your friends unless you finish that within the next fifteen minutes”. The latter sentence just associates yet another negative with homework.
There are some days when even the best laid plans go awry so don't lose heart. A little consistency can really help, especially when it leads to everyone getting a bit more of their evening back! #allinthesameboat #homeworkbattles #mamatude