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How to Motivate Your Child to Do Homework

As soon as your child starts school, the necessity to do homework comes into play. Parents are required to take responsibility for getting this done. How do you motivate your child to do homework? Some children need little or no motivation to get this done while others show great resistance when they are told to do their homework. This does not always mean such a child is lazy. Even adults need motivation for work sometimes. 

Therefore, it is important to know how to generate interest and desire in your child. You must be able to motivate your child to do his or her homework. Forcing a child to do his or her homework should not be considered as an option, because it will only make him or her hate doing the homework even more. The child may never realize the importance of work if he or she is being forced, but proper motivation will help build a good work habit in the child. The following notes would help you through this process.

How to Motivate Your Child to Do Homework

8 ways to motivate your child to do homework

#1. Discover why your child is not motivated 

Knowing the source of the problem will help you and your child overcome the obstacle hindering him or her from doing his/her homework. This reason could vary from anxiety about the school to low self-confidence, difficult learning style or lack of understanding of the materials. 

We’ve heard of children who will simply urinate on their bodies when you shout at them or find it hard to compose themselves to study or do their homework due to anxiety. Therefore, motivating such children to do homework will require utmost care; even though there might be other children that need little shout to get them to their work. 

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As a parent, you will have to carefully discover why all your efforts towards making your child do his or her homework has always proved abortive.

#2. Make study time easier

This can be achieved by making sure that everything needed to get the work done is made available. These can include;

a. Food: the motivation to learn or make your child do homework can be difficult when your child is hungry. There will be little or no attention to study or do homework with an empty stomach, so ensure your child has eaten before presenting him/her with homework.

b. Enabling environment: provide a distraction-free space for your child to do homework. This will enhance focus and concentration. 

c. Right tools: make sure all writing tools and materials are available such as; pencil, pen, eraser, sheet of paper, calculator and other required items. This goes a long way to reduce resistance to work.

#3. Limit stress

After a long day in school, your child may be tired and require some rest. Food may not be able to solve this problem, but a little nap may do. Give time for your child to de-stress; you can also help relieve his/her stress by spending time together.

#4. Create a structure

Children do well with structure. The structure should be SMART (S-Specific, M-Measurable, A-Achievable, R-Realistic, T-Time-bound). A structure is like a schedule of how things should be done, which also entails setting goals. Don’t just say it’s time to get your homework done as it appeals to. Discuss the most realistic time and have it fixed. Homework should be done at this designated time.

#5. Motivation comes from ownership

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According to Debbie Pincus, the creator of The Calm Parent, it is advantageous to help your child gain control and ownership of his own life. If your child’s grades are low, let him own the disappointment, not you. 

“Let him figure out what motivates him, not have him motivated by fear of you. Help guide him but don’t prevent him from feeling the real-life consequences of bad choices like not doing his work. Think of it this way: it’s better for your child to learn from those consequences at age ten by failing his grade and having to go to summer school than for him to learn at age 25 by losing his job,” says Debbie.

This approach is one of the surefire ways to motivate your child to do homework.

#6. Instead of external reward, build intrinsic motivation

Some parents use external rewards to motivate their child to do homework but this may not be the best way to help your child. 

More often than not, once the reward is removed, the child will no longer be interested in continuing the behaviour.

What’s the right way to motivate your child to do homework?

The answer is to build intrinsic motivation in your child. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity for its pure enjoyment. This enjoyment comes from a person and it’s a psychological pleasure derived from performing the task, not from an extrinsic outcome or reward.

In essence, to get your child to do homework, first help him or her enjoy doing it.

The sad part is that homework is called “work”; we humans like to separate work from play but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t tell your child, “You cannot play until you finish your homework.”

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To enjoy homework, the child just has to enjoy learning. To motivate kids, we first have to change our mindset, from a work mindset to a learn mindset.

#7. Do homework with your child

One of the ways to inspire your child to do homework is to let him or her know how important it is. Beyond that, you can show him or her through your actions.

By doing the homework with your child, you are telling your child that you value this so much and you are willing to take the time to do it together.

#8. Give kids a break after school

Forcing your child to do homework immediately after school may not be the best approach to motivate your child to do homework. Your child may just be tired and need to get a little bit of rest.

Let him or her have some time after school to give his or her mind a break before starting homework. This break can help improve motivation and focus when it is time for your child to do his or her homework.

It’s better to learn how to motivate your child to do homework than to trick them into completing it. This will help him or her to become a highly performing student. It will help your child use his or her energy to reach optimum potential rather than avoiding homework.