Does your child routinely give excuses to avoid doing homework? Excuses such as they forgetting their book back in school, not feeling well or simply just not remembering to do their homework? Or they may pretend to be busy with extra-curricular work or simply unable to grasp the concept that was being taught at school.

Getting your child or student to complete their homework on time might as well be the most challenging task posed to a parent or a teacher. From the perspective of the child, home is a place to relax and indulge in recreational activities rather than complete work that was assigned at school. Distractions abound at home, which further make it tougher for the child to complete homework.

Following are some tips for parents to help their child finish their homework:
1. Help them reflect on why they don’t like doing their homework by asking and prompting them gently.
2. If they express their dislike towards the subject, or shows disinterest in doing the homework, instead of being confrontational and stern, remain gentle and try not to project your frustrations on them. Otherwise the dislike may soon turn into hatred.
3. Don’t prod them while they are frustrated with schoolwork, let them arrive at a calmer state and then bring up the topic. A calmer mind is usually more receptive to advice.
4. Build a schedule for the child for the entire day and ensure to place homework over other tasks like having meals, playtime etc.
5. Try to place homework in a slot of the day where distractions at home are at their least. It shouldn’t happen that they are doing their homework while someone else at home is watching tv.
6. Ensure that they are always learning and reading something even when there is no homework for the day. This ensures that they are constantly in the zone of learning and stay right on track with the curriculum.
7. Make doing homework a habit from a very young age by carving out a set time during the day for schoolwork only. This slot should be utilized to read something when there is less or no homework to do. In no time, this schedule is internalized by the child and by the time they are in higher classes and when homework keeps piling, they are well equipped to handle the same.
8. Keep a watch on the child while they do their homework so that you are available to clarify their doubts in case there is need to do so. They should be aware that you are keeping an eye on them and that you are always available.
9. Ensure that if they are in the room, the door is always kept open so that you are aware of their activities all the time.
10. Keep the room free of any gadgets to minimize distraction.
11. The child shall be allowed to take a break to have something or stretch their legs. But ensure that no electronics are being accessed.
12. Be empathetic in general towards their approach to homework.
13. Recreational activities must also be encouraged, but ensure that they are placed lower in priority than homework.
14. Of the 2 parents, let the one with higher patience levels be in charge of homework. The child should not feel pressured into doing the homework and should be dealt with gently.
15. Refrain from doing their homework so that they learn the concept completely. Minor prompts can always be given in between though.
16. Hire a private tutor in case you are burdened with your own work and do not have an adequate amount of time to devote to the child.

Following are some tips for teachers:
1. Teach them the importance of homework and the concepts they are learning so that they are naturally compelled to finish it.
2. Give them direct and elaborate instructions on how the homework must be completed so that they feel confident in doing the same. Simply asking them to note it down from the blackboard and leaving it up to them to figure it out doesn’t help the students much.
3. Ensure that the homework given is relevant to the concept taught at school so that it can be understood and completed with ease at home.
4. Do not overwhelm them with homework and be cognizant of the fact that other subject teachers have also assigned similar amount of work to the students. Having a schedule in the week for assigning homework helps regulate the load that students might feel.
5. Assign interesting tasks and refrain from assigning mundane tasks that will bore the students.
6. Discuss solutions in class and also give ample feedback so that those who have finished their homework diligently have an incentive to work more and those who couldn’t do it get the confidence that it can be done and learn something new in the process.
7. Monitor their homework routinely, if possible, maintain a chapter-wise record of their progress.
8. Praise them for their efforts and try to remain calm when they have been unable to finish the task. Instead of insulting them, correct their mistakes and guide them.
9. Help them understand the homework if necessary and guide them without revealing the whole solution.
10. Build a good rapport with students so that they start taking an interest in the subject you teach. Understanding their needs instead of scolding or abusing them helps you earn their respect which in turn makes your job easier because they naturally start taking interest in you and the subject.
11. Help them organize their homework well, so that they do not feel overwhelmed and are well equipped to tackle the same. 

Author: Suman Deswal

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