Reducing the Homework Battles: Six Steps to Take

Annoyed child doing homework

Starting around second grade and continuing through high school, many families find that homework time is a stressful time.

Even the most peaceful household becomes a battleground of frustration, nagging, and chaos as parents encourage a child to get his or her homework done while the child has interest in doing…almost anything but that.

Parents can ignore this problem and let their child figure it out, but most do not. They know that homework habits are the prerequisite skills for effective studying and building skills for college. Most parents take on the battle each night in order to give their child a brighter future.

The truth is that many children are not fully equipped with the skills necessary to manage these expectations.

For various reasons, from diagnosed conditions like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or the child’s unique personality or maturity level, many children struggle with prioritizing their nightly homework responsibilities.

There are ways parents can help their child develop better time management skills, prioritizing skills, and a deeper connection to expectations, eventually minimizing the homework battles.

Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Set expectations: By setting clear goals and expectations for your children, you will stop the prompting and help your child independently approach responsibilities with higher purpose and accountability.
  • Ask "What’s up?": Engage your child in practical problem-solving by creating real opportunities for your child to solve his or her problems. Give your child a chance to reflect, problem solve, and plan.
  • Teach resilience: Saying things like "Life is hard, I know you can do this" and "I am proud of your effort to work through that tough problem" promotes intrinsic motivation and builds emotional strength.
  • Use an academic planner: Whether digital or old-school paper, it can help your child to manage academic responsibilities and support working memory deficits. This tool also helps with teaching progress monitoring, problem-solving, task initiation, and long-term planning skills.
  • Establish a routine: Discuss morning, afternoon, and evening routines with your child, and stick with them once set. This will help your child manage life in a predictable and organized manner. It will help your child develop awareness of time and space, and an improved interconnection to their "future self."

Parents can play a huge part in helping their child to develop necessary life skills while also building academic knowledge.