Getting a teen to do their homework is a daily battle for many parents, especially when there are so many seemingly more important things to distract a teenager. There is social media, online gaming, and catching up with a bloated watchlist on their favorite streaming service. It’s no wonder that homework often gets put on the backburner.
The good news is that homework doesn’t always have to be a challenge. Use these tips to motivate your teen to do their homework without resorting to nagging or raised voices.
1. Make Them Understand that Homework is Their Responsibility
At some point during the argument, your teen may have shifted the responsibility of homework onto you. After all, if you want it done so badly, then why don’t you do it. Make sure your child understands that you are willing to provide all the help they need, but it’s their homework and their responsibility.
2. Expectations and Consequences
At the start of every semester, let your child know what you expect of them. You mustn’t come across as an unrelenting drill sergeant. Instead, have a calm discussion about the homework routine you expect them to abide by. This way, the child will develop a sense of responsibility for their education and take ownership of their actions.
Your talk should cover a few key areas, including:
- Their homework schedule (30 minutes to relax and get settled, followed by 2 hours of homework, for example)
- TV, phones, video games, and the internet are off-limits until homework is done
- Setting out what will happen if they violate the conditions
- Creating homework-free periods
Reinforce the idea that you are on the same team and aren’t out for a fight. Put everything down in writing and place it somewhere prominent, like a family notice board or the fridge.
3. Refrain from Forcing Them to Do Their Homework
Parents can struggle with the concept that not forcing their children to do their homework can actually work. Threats, coercion, and yelling matches may work in the short term, but the rebellion this strategy breeds will mean success is short-lived.
Pretty soon, you are back to square one and in yet another shouting match. Your child needs rules, but you will get much further by building a better relationship rather than feeding their resentment.
4. Avoid Micromanagement
You may feel like you need to constantly watch over your child to make sure they are doing the right thing. However, teenagers will get irritated if they feel you constantly hovering. Most teenagers will abide by the agreement you set out and won’t need you to nag or be a constant over-the-shoulder presence, so give them some space.
Let them know that if you learn that they are not turning in homework on time, they will have certain privileges restricted, which won’t return until you hear they have improved.
5. Provide a Quiet Place to Study
An area of the home that is quiet and free of distractions will help kids focus. You might also like to have a location to store phones and tablets separate from the study area to reduce distractions and temptation.
Families with more than one child will need to set up boundaries to ensure each child will not disturb the other during study.
Set up the area with everything they need, such as pens and pencils, a lamp, a comfortable chair, and a decent-sized desk. Having everything organized will help your child concentrate for longer.
Homework is critical for more than just good grades. Teens who are disciplined in their homework routine are developing good habits and work ethics that will last them a lifetime. If you are tired of constantly arguing about homework with your teenager, try the above tips and see how quickly you can bring some peace back into your family.