• Christine Willing, M.Ed., NCSP,

How to Get Your Kid to Do Their Homework (Without Nagging)


Highlights from this blog

​Reduce homework stress by establishing a routine that you and your child can agree to.

​Create a quiet homework space and institute a simple check-in system.

Don’t be afraid to reward your child—a small incentive can have a big impact!

How many times a night do you have to tell your child to start (or finish) their homework? If you’re like most parents, it’s probably more than a few.


It may seem like this back and forth is just part of being a parent, but it doesn’t have to be. By collaborating with your child, you can establish a simple homework routine that works for the both of you.


With a little structure and a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to keep your kid on task with a whole lot less stress and anxiety for the both of you. Here’s how.


1. Create a dedicated homework space


If you’ve ever worked from home (or needed a quiet place to do your taxes), you know how important a calm, dedicated workspace can be. The same applies for your child.


That’s why it’s essential to have a space dedicated to homework and studying.


But not all homework spaces are created equal. Try to stay away from common areas like the kitchen unless your child needs support to stay on task.


You can even make the space more calming by adding fidgets, stress balls, essential oils, a candle, or their favorite blanket. Work with your child to make the space inviting. If they like being there, they’re less likely to grumble when homework time comes around.


2. Set a schedule for homework time (and be consistent)


Most kids need a little break after school. Maybe they need to let out some energy outdoors or grab a snack to fuel up. Whatever the case, the break between school and homework should not exceed an hour.


If you let them go longer than that, your child will likely switch off school mode and switch on their iPad. When that happens, it becomes even harder to get them to finish their homework.


So set a schedule and stick to it. But don’t create a new routine all by yourself. Make sure to get your child’s buy-in. If they feel like they’re part of the process, they’re more likely to stick to the schedule (without too much grief).


Here’s a sample schedule to get you started:

3:00pm - Come home and put materials in your homework space

3:15pm - Eat a snack

3:30–4:00pm - Play or relax

4:00pm - Start homework


Also remember to be flexible. Things come up. So allow for slight changes and encourage your child to come up with a new plan for the day.


3. Develop a check-in system


Kids hate it when you ask them repeatedly if they’ve finished their homework. Sure, it’s the easiest way to check in on their progress, but unfortunately, you’re just making homework more stressful than it needs to be.


Instead, work with your child to create a to-do list. They can cross off each item as they complete it and leave the to-do list open for you to check each day. If your child is more tech savvy, you can even us a Google doc.


If you’re worried about whether your child is being honest, do a spot-check every now and again and ask them to show you their completed homework.


But remember, a good check-in system only works when it’s built on trust. So make sure to sit down with your child to create one that works for both of you.


4. Reinforce homework routines with rewards


If you’re like most parents, you’re probably a bit resistant to the idea of

rewarding kids for doing their homework. After all, homework is a kid’s responsibility, right?


I get it. But here’s a better way to think about it: Don’t you ever reward yourself for taking care of your responsibilities? Who doesn’t love a piece of chocolate cake or a glass of wine after a long week? I know I do!


It’s the same thing with homework. Think of it as a reward for their independence, staying on task, and committing to the routine you established. A small incentive can go a long way in reducing homework stress and the nightly shouting matches.


So what kind of reward am I talking about? Think small. Here are a few ideas:


· 30 minutes on their iPad, computer, or video game console

· Extra time to hang out with a friend

· Let them choose the family movie or game


Put Your New Homework Routine into Action


Now that you know how to create a mutually beneficial homework routine, it’s time to put it into action! By adding structure to the time after school, you and your child will experience less stress and arguments around homework.


And remember to make your child a part of all the decisions. By collaborating with them, you can create a routine that’s sustainable all year long. And when you build that routine on trust, you won't always have to ask, “Did you do your homework?” You’ll already know the answer.


Comment below and let us know what strategies you are using to reduce homework stress, either successfully or unsuccessfully. Don’t worry, sometimes it takes a few different approaches before finding the one that works.


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