This year, you will do it right. This year, they will do their homework without question. Or begging. Or threatening.

 

But how exactly can we encourage our kids to tackle their homework and set good homework habits?

 

First, realize why homework is part of your child’s life. It’s not always about just keeping up on the topics of study at school.

 

“Independent work and learning are important assets for people to develop, whether it’s in academic institutions or workplaces. It’s a form of self-organization and self-discipline and it’s something that requires development,” says Alyson Schafer, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and author of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

 

“So, if we can help them develop better homework habits, they’re going to be ultimately more desirable in the workplace.”

 

To help start this year’s homework habits off right, begin by showing enthusiasm for their school work and developing a positive attitude about education.

“Sometimes, as parents we have to put our own baggage about school away because you want your child to have a positive relationship with school,” says Pat Stellick, the Mississauga-based co-ordinating elementary school principal for the Peel District School Board.

Start by asking about their day — what was exciting for you? What was the high point of your day? “That extends learning,” says Stellick. “Homework also makes that connection between home and school and it helps parents understand what’s going on in class during the day.”

Schafer shares her tips on positively encouraging your child to do schoolwork.


  • 1 Be in touch with the school. Through parent-teacher nights and any other opportunities that arise. That way you can keep on top of what’s going on in your child’s classroom.

  • 2 Coach instead of dictate. “Different kids have different learning styles and they have different ways of being successful with their workload,” says Schafer. Help them find out how they learn best — when are they successful? What do they need to stay organized?

  • 3 Empower them. Help your child figure out solutions on when is best for them to do their homework. (Right after school or after supper for example?) “Keep the responsibility of finding the solution with your child,” says Schafer.