Establishing a child’s study or homework habits can be challenging. After all, what worked for me will not necessarily work with my kids.
When I was younger, I remember studying on my own because I’m scared of the idea that my mom will teach me. I don’t like being shouted at, so to prevent that from happening, I studied on my own. Apparently, it’s a different case for my kids. Since hiring a tutor is out of the question, I teach them myself. It wasn’t very easy because my girls have two different personalities and approaches when it comes to school work. So I decided to establish homework habits that will work for both kids. So far, so good.
Here’s what I did:
1) Set-up a Homework Area
This is a MUST. When my eldest started going to school, one of my concerns was where to set up her Homework Area. I wanted it outside her room because the bed and toys will be a distraction. Our room is a big no-no as well since, again, bed plus TV.
This is why I set aside a space in the Family Area for table and chairs, which will also be her Homework Area. This is the most feasible area since the books and school supplies are within reach plus the area is well-lighted. It makes Study Time easier and more organized for us because the kids know where to go when I tell them it’s time to study.
We have yet to come up with a room dedicated for this, but the set-up worked well for both my kids so far.
2) Establish a Homework Routine
I know how stressful schoolworks can be for kids. C’mon. I’ve been there too. This is why I established a routine prior to doing their homework. After lunch, I let the kids play with their toys for 15 minutes before they can start with their homework. I usually start with my eldest since she is more enthusiastic to study compared to the youngest. As soon as Ate’s done, my youngest knows that it’s her turn already. She used to cry every time I call her but eventually, she got used to the routine.
Tip: Have a conversation with your child on when is the best time to do homework. Kids need to “warm up” and asking them about this makes them feel empowered because they are in control.
3) Set an Alarm
Here’s something I discovered: telling a child to stop whatever s/he is doing and ask to do homework is a big NO-NO. Again, kids need to warm up before they start with their battles.
What I do is to set an alarm, which serves as a countdown for them. I remind my kids that they only have x number of minutes left before study time. This gives them time to wrap things up and end whatever it is they are doing.
4) Let Them Choose
… the homework that they want to do first, that is. This makes them feel like they are more in control, which is important for every child. Also, I noticed that my kids work faster and are happier in doing their homework if they start doing a subject they actually love. This keeps them motivated to keep going since the easy ones go first.
5) Homework Notebook
Before, I use scratch paper to make practice exercises for the kids. Sadly, I find this method less effective.
This year, I decided to buy Homework Notebooks for the kids. It serves as their practice notebook where I make exercises based on their lessons. This makes it easier for the kids to refer to previous lessons instead of rummaging though piles of paper.
6) One Child at a Time
As much as I want to hit two birds with one stone, I simply can’t, well at least when it comes to tutoring my kids. I tried teaching them at the same time and it was chaos since both were demanding my attention. I’ll postpone this until they are a bit bigger so in the meantime, I teach one child at a time. This way, I am able to focus on just one kid, which makes it easier for me to teach them.
7) Give Them a Break
This is another must. Doing tasks like homework can be exhausting, especially for kids. This is why I let them rest for five minutes, which allows them to “recharge.”
C’mon mommas, they deserve that quick break too, don’t you think?
8) Encourage Independence
One of the many things I instill on my kids is independence. We’re slowly working on it and most of the time, they no longer need my help. When it comes to doing their homework, it seems like they’re two years old who have no idea what to do.
Instead of doing the work for them, I put on my Coach hat wherein I merely guide and check their work, and let them do it by themselves. This way, it teaches them to be self-reliant and helps foster independence. Plus, I can’t help them all the time, so they need to learn how to do things on their own.
9) Don’t Forget the Reward
This is my life savior. Haha! Rewards is life for my kids so I always make sure to give them something to keep them motivated to study.
For instance, after doing their homework on their own, I let them use the phone for 15 minutes. If I see their efforts for the entire week, I give in to their McDo demands and buy them a Happy Meal. The point is give rewards only when they deserve it.
What about you mommas? Any homework tips you would like to share? Feel free to do so by leaving a comment below.
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.