Getting your children to finish assignments is a difficult task for some parents. Teaching your children study habits and organizational skills at an early age can help cut back frustration and poor schoolwork. Even though their academic achievement will benefit from this, these are life-long skills that will be helpful in many areas in your child’s life. Here are a few simple tips.
1. Talk to your child about school. Find out if there are any subjects that he finds intimidating or any that he looks forward to, and see how he feels about his teacher and his classmates.
2. Give your child a three-ring binder to hold her calendar and organize her assignments and notes. Encourage your child to write down her assignments in the calendar. For long-term assignments, help him/her decide how to break the project into chunks with specific goals set for specific dates.
3. Give your child a place to do schoolwork. Children do not mind unique or small spaces, so a corner with a pillow and a sheet draped over it or a space under a table may suffice if you have a small living space.
4. Limit distractions. This may include television, phones, computers and siblings or any other stimuli that can sabotage schoolwork. Turning off all electronics and limiting socializing allows your child to focus on the task at hand and reinforces the importance of schoolwork.
5. Ensure that your child gets breaks when needed. If you are a firm believer in all homework being finished in one sitting, let your child know that it is okay to switch between subjects if he needs a break. If your child has focusing problems, set a timer in short increments, then gradually increase the amount of time that he is working on a task.
6. Reinforce the use of the homework folder our elementary teachers use. Most school folders are labeled one side "Keep at Home" and the other side "Return to School." Make sure your child puts assignments, permission slips, calendars and other important papers in the folder. Go through the folder as often as you can with your child and then periodically check it after she has become accustomed to the routine.
7. Set an example. If you are in school, work on your schoolwork at the same time your child works on his. If you simply have household chores to do, designate a specific chore time, even if you realistically do chores at other times, and make that time schoolwork time as well.
8. Make it fun. Put an incentive chart in your house. Try to stay away from using the chart to earn intrinsic or extrinsic rewards; many children simply enjoy the stickers on the chart. If you also are in school, track your assignments with your child. If you are not, track your chores instead.