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Dealing with homework drama

Your child drags his feet. You struggle to get him out of bed in the morning and you argue all night over the pile of homework that needs doing. His frustration is almost tangible, your patience has reached its limit, and to get him to focus on schoolwork seems virtually impossible.

Thankfully, with the arrival of spring, many children discover a new lust for life and boundless energy. Others need a little more support to feel motivated – especially when it comes to their schoolwork. What to do if your child is one of the latter?

Let him play!

If your child shows no interest in doing his homework straight after school, allow him to play outside, ride his bike or go for a walk (if he is old enough). The exercise and fresh air won’t do any harm.

Change his scenery

If your child normally does his homework at a desk in his room, allow him to work at the dining room table, or even outside. You will be surprised what a change in the work environment will do for his mindset – and his motivation levels!

Give him the right tools

Ensure that your child has the necessary material and resources to complete his homework and try to incorporate an element of fun – focus more on enjoyment and less on achievement. This can give his interest in schoolwork a boost.

Point out his strengths

Remind your child often about the things he is really good at as well as those he enjoys doing. (He has probably lost interest in these activities due to his lack of motivation.) When tackling his schoolwork, encourage him to give his best and praise his efforts, rather than the end result.

What you mustn’t do

  • Don’t allow your child to stay off school – a lack of interest is not a valid reason to be absent.
  • Never “bribe” your child to complete his schoolwork with cash or expensive items. These are short-term motivators and may lead to your child doing things for the wrong reasons, and not accepting responsibility.
  • Don’t constantly nag your child – offer your time and support, the necessary resources and a positive learning environment, then leave him to get on with his work.
  • Never compare your child with others.

Even if things are bit bumpy, be supportive and encouraging, not critical and controlling. Remember, too, that most of us crave one thing – recognition. Perhaps the only motivation your child needs to tackle the last few months of the school year with gusto, is a gold star or three (for little ones), or a few sincere words of praise.

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