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The Homework Battle! 5 tips to getting a win/win

POSTED: Friday, March 25, 2016

Homework Battles are a No-Win situation for you and your kids. Parents are often bogged down by the constant stress caused by power struggles, and kids can come to resent a parent bugging them about homework every day.  Over time, associating these showdowns with schoolwork creates a negative belief that learning is painful, and a child’s homework-avoidant behavior is reinforced leading to increasingly defiant or manipulative behavior. There is a better way.




If you are hearing “leave me alone”, or “I’ll do it myself” but the work doesn’t get done, what can you do?  Here are some tips that have helped happy San Diego families turn homework time into a Win / Win….


1) Avoid battles by offering choices. 

People like to feel empowered, and they don’t like being told what to do. Children are no exception. Offering choices to your child can help them to feel like they are in control, and that you are working with them instead of against them. If you find yourself in the midst of a power struggle, STOP! Let the situation cool down, then offer choices. “You can do your homework later and and you will have only 10 minutes of iPad time after dinner or you can do it now and earn 30 minutes, it’s up to you.” The keys are not making privileges a bribe, but to structure rewards as a consequence of good behavior according to pre-agreed terms, and being consistent with these terms so that it doesn’t become a nightly negotiation.

homework2) Help only as long as it’s enjoyable for both of you. 

Once tension starts to build, you are creating space for a power struggle to arise. Be proactive: help your child as much as you can, then as soon as you realize your involvement is no longer helpful, remove yourself from the situation and offer choices. Stress and tension from homework can spill into other areas of your relationship with your child, if it becomes too difficult to bare it is a sign that you may need outside help to break a negative cycle.

3) Understand your child’s learning styles and preferences. 

Every child learns differently and can benefit from a customized approach when it comes to help outside the classroom. For example, some students do well with listening to explanations, where others do better with watching demonstrations. Help your child discover and apply their strengths to problem solve, then help them understand where they need additional skill building support. Often strengths and weaknesses can be difficult to assess, so you can consider clinical testing from a psychologist to identify these areas, or a professional tutoring company who can perform an academic learning assessment.

Skills directly involved with learning & homework performance include:

4) Establish a system for rewards. 

Once you identify your child’s areas of strength and areas that may need some work, reward them EVERY TIME you see improvement. Remember: rewards that emphasize success over effort can reinforce cheating, or teach a child to only put effort into things they are already good at. Praise is an important reward. Reinforcement will help to boost a child’s confidence when it comes to homework and learning. Overtime, receiving praise for effort leads to success becoming its own reward. Some students work well with long-term rewards (i.e. a bigger reward after an A on a test), where others need immediate, incremental rewards (i.e. a smaller reward for completing an assignment). There are three keys to success with rewards systems:

  • Be sure to pick rewards that are highly motivating, and
  • Be consistent! Reinforce your child any time you see effort or improvement towards your desired results.
  • Avoid negotiating rewards. The only way to earn more rewards, is with more positive behavior.

Private Tutoring Services in Coronado5) Find a professional tutor for the best results. 

Tutoring and coaching is a great way to let the professionals make homework fun and take the pressure and emotions out of the parent and child relationship. Imagine coming home from work knowing your child is not only doing their homework, but enjoying it! Every parent enjoys stress-free quality time with their child. With the right tutor, your child can also build skills and confidence to sustain success for future assignments as well. An expert tutor can help to identify areas where your child might need support, provide tools to develop their existing strengths, identify motivators & set up reinforcement systems, incorporate fun into learning, and set up a structured and successful after school environment for your child. When routine power struggles are failing take a parenting break. Enjoy your quality time with your child. Let your kids discover how to enjoy their homework with a fun & engaging tutor who can teach transformational skills and feed their desire for academic success. You may be thrilled to find your child’s tutor has taken away the cycle of homework stress leaving you and your child to enjoy a happier, more peaceful home.

If you want to learn more about how a tutor can help your family contact our educational experts at Club Xcite, your local affordable in-home private tutoring company at 858 779 9674.

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Mention this blog for $100 off your first tutoring package.

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