Getting junior to do his homework on his own — without your incessant prodding — can be a struggle. This is especially so, if your child has difficulty focusing on tasks or needs extra guidance with a subject his is weak in.
Unfortunately, there is no getting away from having to do assignments. After all, it helps the teacher determine your child’s proficiency in a subject, as well as hone his skills and speed in problem solving. On the upside, if junior’s scoring in his assignments, he’ll be more confident and perhaps do better in his exams.
Help him realise the decision to do his homework can enable him to feel happy when he performs well in his exams rather than feel guilty at not putting in the effort.
Having good study habits isn’t something that comes naturally or easily — it’s a skill that has to be built over time. But like other habits, once your child puts it into practice, it becomes second nature. So, the sooner you nurture your child’s studying habits, the earlier you’ll set the stage for conflict-free studying later on. If you find yourself struggling to sweet talk (or even bribe) your child into doing his assignments, here are some helpful tips to cultivate your tween’s homework habits…
1. Help your child understand the purpose of homework Your tween is trying to get out of completing his homework because he feels it’s boring and he does not recognise the purpose of doing it. That’s why manager at Touch Community Services, Chong Ee Jay stresses that it’ll help for you to have a conversation with him, to help him think through and compare the consequences for finishing, or not attempting his school work. Help him realise the decision to do his homework can enable him to feel happy when he performs well in his exams, rather than feel guilty at not putting in any effort.
2. Start small Gradually build up the amount of time junior spends on his work. You should take into account your child’s learning style when it comes to completing assignments. You’ll be setting junior up for failure if you make him sit and complete his work for prolonged periods of time, knowing that he has a short attention span. Help him break down his assignments into chunks of work he can do in an hour or 30 minute blocks, then gradually extend the time spent depending on his progress. Psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, Daniel Koh stresses that it is important to give your child a break when he’s doing his work, too. “Taking breaks can help the mind to relax and recharge. It can also let the child have the time to move around.”
3. Your child’s study buddy can lend a hand If your child’s struggling with a topic or subject in school repeatedly, then Chong advises you to encourage him to approach friends or teachers for help. Sometimes, studying with a friend can motivate your child while taking away all that parental pressure. “Check in on them when they are doing homework from time to time, bring them water and offer them words of encouragement.”
4. Be innovative and find new ways to teach your child Chong says websites like YouTube can shed light on ways to coach your child to better understand his assignments and studies. For instance, if your child is weak in his mother tongue language, besides zoning in on assessment books and reading materials, you could bring him to plays and concerts performed in his mother tongue. Once junior recognises the relevance, he’ll also learn the value of school work.
5. A tuition teacher should not be hired to help you supervise your child You may end up increasing your child’s workload and dampening his enthusiasm for a particular subject instead of encouraging him to complete his homework. Instead, tuition teachers should be hired to help your tween improve on his weaknesses or get ahead of what he’s being taught in school. Chong advises, “It is good [to get tuition teachers] when parents are not familiar or do not have adequate knowledge about the curriculum to help the child. But definitely not for encouragement to do homework or [add on] more homework.”
Sometimes, studying with a friend can motivate your child while taking away all that parental pressure.
6. Create a conducive environment for studying Not having a dedicated study space to do his homework can lead to unnecessary disruptions that’ll derail his progress. And repeated disturbances will only urge your child to give up on studying. Koh shares that it will be helpful for junior to have access or gather all the materials he needs before he gets started on his homework. The studying environment should also be quiet and free from gadgets to help him finish his work faster.
7. Put a manageable timetable in place Chong shares that setting up a routine for doing homework and promising your child playtime after they have completed it, may sweeten the deal. Having a timetable in place also helps your child structure his afterschool activities. You’ll be able to determine whether the timetable is too heavy for your child — draining him of energy he needs to concentrate on his work — and how to rectify the problem accordingly.
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