Consider tailoring your approach to your child’s temperament rather than fighting over the English homework and addition worksheets.
The pain and frustration of homework are all too common for many of us. Can the drama be avoided?
The main point is to figure out what makes them tick. Think about if your child leaves things until the last minute or if they have trouble keeping track of their assignments. The personality, learning style, and temperament will factor into how they deal with their homework and how you will deal with them. If you can find the roadblock, you will have a better chance of creating a situation that will help set them up for success.
Below are a few simple homework personalities that children tend to deal with and how you can handle each one.
The Child is a Procrastinator
Your child knows a special school project for multiple weeks but has not even completed anything except for a small painted thing on a box. As a parent, we all know the temptation to put off our work, even for some children.
The first thing that you need to look at is if your child understands the material or is struggling with the learning itself. Once you have ruled that out, it is good to keep in mind that most kids will find everything more exciting than homework. One of the parts of our brains that helps manage self-control does not become entirely functional until around age 12. So, the urge to organize game cards will win over understanding that their science project is due, and they will completely forget about it.
What you can do is insist that nothing fun can happen until they have finished their homework. It may work if you create a to-do list that must be done each day. Things like video games cannot be done until they have finished homework. It even helps to break all the work down into manageable parts. So, if your child has a packet of homework due next week, then give them one page of the packet to finish each day.
The Child is a Perfectionist
Beyond something more exciting than homework, there could be a deeper reason why your child does not want to do homework. If your child cannot stand the thought of not doing homework perfectly, they will not do it.
Children who are identified as gifted or sensitive will often be prone to perfectionism. A perfectionist will see it as an opportunity for someone to show that they have no idea what they are doing or feel that they are not living up to what they can be doing. Sometimes, they may start a project multiple times, but they reject their ideas and hope that the next idea that they have will be perfect.
What you can do is help them to try to overcome their perfectionism. It will not be an easy process. Your child may end up having anxiety about getting things done correctly, and it could take much longer for them to get their work done than you expect. The main part is to keep the whole focus on the process instead of the outcome. For example, instead of asking what grade they got, ask if they tried their hardest and that what happens at that point is no longer important. You want to ensure that your child does not end up stuck. When it comes to brainstorming, put a time limit on the task.
Your Child is a Speed Demon
Some children want to get their work done as fast as possible. They will come home, pull out their homework and then write a few things down and yell done. They may find it stupid to write about a book that they read already, and they want to spend no time go over it again. All of the math they did in class was easy, and now they don’t want to do a page.
You can go over their homework and double-check it to ensure that it is up to par to understand that it is essential to be thorough. It may help to create a checklist based on what the assignment is to help break tasks down.
Your Child is a Rebel
Maybe your child is thinking about the world more critically or having interests falling outside of the curriculum. They may not see the point in working on the worksheet in geometry and do not want to explore the history of folk music in the United States. The rebels will constantly second-guess and question every purpose of everything.
However, it could be a good trait, but there is some evidence that future success as an adult will be about creative and divergent thinking and not waiting for someone to say what to do. If the attitude is starting to be an issue for the teacher or grades are dropping, it may be best to go back to the basics.
You can ensure that the emphasis on learning stays there. Help your child to learn new ideas, skills, and concepts that they can master. See if you can draw a connection between schoolwork and their passions.
Your Child is a Forgetter
Did your child complete their worksheet today? And you get the answer of “No. I forgot.” When was their project due? “I don’t remember.” Where is their assignment sheet for English? “I don’t know.”
You can start by providing a lot of structure, reminders, and repetition. Please do not rely on your child to start this process, as they may not have the skills or maturity to handle the consequences of their actions. Help them develop good habits by attaching a tag or note to their backpack about everything they need to remember to bring home and check the list when it is the end of the day. This develops organizational skills but is sure to back off a bit based on the situation so that your child does not depend on you to remember everything for them.