Does this scene seem familiar: You come home, and your child is reading or watching TV or playing computer games or on Snapchat.
“How was school?”
“Okay.” (Wow. A word.)
“Do you have homework?”
“nggh” (Not a word, but probably “yes”.)
“Have you done your homework?”
“ngh” (Probably “no”).
You deliver a lecture and maybe even yell at him.
So, how do we break out of this situation (or not let it start at all)? Dr Hana Ra Adams, family therapist and counsellor at the German European School Singapore, says that nagging and indeed, “tiger” parenting isn’t likely to be of help.
“I would actually ask the child why he is putting off his homework. Compromise — say he can watch his favorite show for 30 minutes AFTER he finishes 30 minutes of work. Remember, if it's all work with no play, the child will resent the work and, potentially, you.”
She suggests also checking (discreetly) what is getting in the way of his homework. Is he on his phone or computer? Limit such distractions for his work period, but leave the study materials he needs in front of him. Do your own work next to him, balance your finances or something — not to “help” him with the work, but to give him moral support if he gets frustrated. And be there to say “you can do it” or “keep it up”.
Dr Adams also suggests:
1. Make homework a routine
Set a pattern for your child of starting and completing work. Fix times of day that are devoted to homework days and make this part of your child’s routine. And if there is no homework on a given day, keep the time for reading together or writing so that your child continues with their homework pattern.
2. Fix up a homework space
Make a quiet space for him to complete his homework. Limit noise in the area and ensure that your tween has all the necessary supplies. This may mean separating your children, so that they won’t keep bugging each other or chat until they forget to do their tasks.
3. Teach him to prioritise
Help your child to understand what larger projects may be coming up during the week and guide him to set aside enough time to complete his work. Show him how the first few times; after that, discuss how he feels it should be done. This will help him plan his study timetable for exams as well.
4. Being organised is key
Help him organise his books and papers, so he won’t find it a hassle to go through the material. You may have to watch him to see if he works and reaches for materials the way you do, then help him adjust the way he organises his work to suit his way of studying.
5. Praising him for sticking to it
Whatever their age, children want and need their parents’ praise. When your child finishes a difficult question, praise him for not giving up and working hard.