Homework is an important part of every child’s education. It helps them review what they have learned in school and get ready for the next day’s lessons. However, getting children to actually sit down and do their homework can be quite a challenge for many parents in Singapore.
There are many reasons why children may not want to do their homework. They may find it boring or difficult, or simply feel too tired after a long day at school and just want to relax and let loose a little. Whatever the reason, it is important for parents to find ways to motivate their children to do their homework independently.
Here are some ways you can help your child create a conducive homework routine:
Set a Regular Time and Place for Homework
Make sure your child has a dedicated time and place to do their homework every day. This will help them develop a routine and make it easier for them to get into the habit of doing their homework regularly. As for when in the day would be the best time for doing homework, the answer is: it really depends.
Just like adults, different children work better at different times of the day, and the best time for them to attempt doing their homework would simply be whenever they are ready to do so. As a general rule of thumb, most children will find themselves needing a short break to unwind when they first arrive back home from school — twenty to thirty minutes for a snack and some relaxation can greatly help them feel rested and more ready for work. However, as mentioned previously, each child is unique and some may even prefer getting their homework out of the way right from the moment they step foot back into their homes. Parents should encourage their children to experiment in this regard and find a fixed time for them to finish their homework on a daily basis.
Likewise, the environment you create for your child’s homework sessions should also be well-suited to their nuanced needs. Some children work better with music, while some may need some quiet or white noise. Lighting, furniture, and other aspects such as regularity of break times and duration of each focused session should also be amended as much as possible to cater towards your child’s wants and preferences.
Remove Potential Distractions and Encourage Breaks
One of the main reasons children do not want to do their homework is because they can get easily distracted. It can be hard for them to focus on their work when there are so many other things around them that are more interesting and appealing. As such, it is important for parents to create an environment that is conducive for learning by simply helping to minimise distractions.
This means keeping the television and other electronic devices turned off, and making sure there are no toys or other objects around that can catch your child’s attention whenever they are supposed to be focusing on their homework. As highlighted in the first point, a dedicated homework space for your child can be greatly beneficial, not just in establishing a daily routine but also in the elimination of potential distractions that can get in the way of your child successfully completing their homework.
For parents struggling to get their children to concentrate, try encouraging them to take breaks amidst their dedicated homework time. While it is important for children to focus on their homework and not get distracted, it is also important for them to take breaks in between so that they do not get overwhelmed or too tired. Encouraging your child to take five-minute breaks every half an hour, for example, can help them stay focused and refreshed at the same time. During these breaks, they can stand up and move around a little, have a snack or drink, or simply relax and do something they enjoy for a short while before getting back to work.
Offer Homework Help When Needed and Practise Positive Reinforcement
There will be times when your child gets stuck on their homework and needs some help from you as a parent. As much as possible, you should make yourself available to offer assistance when needed. This does not mean doing their homework for them, but rather simply being there to offer guidance and clarification when they need it. If you are unavailable to help them at the time, you can try leaving a note for them with some tips on how they can go about solving the problem. You can also try looking up the answer together once you are both available so that they can understand the concept better. What is important is that you let them know that you are there to help and support them with their homework, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they get all the help they need to succeed in their studies.
To top things off, positive reinforcement is a great way to get children to want to do their homework. This means rewarding them for a job well done, whether it is with a hug, a special treat, or simply some words of encouragement. Letting them know that you are proud of their efforts can go a long way in making them feel motivated to continue doing their best. You can also try setting up a reward system for them so that they have something to look forward to after completing their homework every day. For example, you can let them choose an activity they enjoy doing or allow them extra television or computer screen time on the weekends if they are able to complete all their homework on time. Regardless, positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate children and help them see value in sticking to a homework routine.
Enrol Them in After School Student Care Programmes
Parents who want to help their child better focus on their homework yet don’t have the luxury of being home on the weekdays can try enrolling them in an after school student care programme as well. These programmes provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to complete their homework, and offer plenty of opportunities for play and socialisation. The structure and routine of these programmes can be extremely beneficial for children with regards to their finding success at school, especially if they struggle to focus at home.
At MindSpace, our after school student care services follow a research-backed curriculum, such that children can enjoy the best MindChamps enrichment programmes all through a complete after school experience. Discover more about our programmes at MindSpace, and find a MindSpace Centre near you today to provide a comfortable, creative, and conducive after school learning environment for your child.