When I was in elementary school I hated nothing more than homework, in particular writing. My handwriting wasn’t beautiful, I found it difficult to hold the pen and somehow the lines moved while I was writing
Nobody seemed to understand my struggles and my parents and teachers had a hard time supporting me. I certainly didn’t know why I couldn’t just write neatly and enjoy this more.
Now that I am a parent of a 6 year old who just started school here in Denmark, I feel I am regressed back in time. And I certainly know that so many parents face challenges helping their kids effectively with their homework assignments.
You already guessed that parenting comes with its fair share of challenges, and one common battleground is the realm of homework. If your child has declared war on the very idea of homework, don't worry—you're not alone.
Kids feel the pressure of homework, they are tired after a long day and truth to be told, I also don’t like to sit down and do hard stuff after a full day of work myself.
In this blog post, I‘ll explore some strategies to help you stay calm and maintain a peaceful atmosphere while tackling homework hurdles with your child.
But why is that important you ask?
The calmer YOU are as a parent, the easier it will be for your child’s brain to actually take in your support, your advice, your teaching. Our brains don’t learn well when we are scared, annoyed, or totally clocked-out. So staying calm yourself is one crucial corner stone in managing challenges with homework. When you implement these tips below, I promise, there will be less space in your mind for getting mad at your child.
Your feelings are valid, all of them
Many of us parents grew up with stress around homework or school in general. If you feel out of control or helpless with your child’s situation, you are not alone. And it doesn’t have to stay that way. Learning how to manage and regulate your emotions that arise during homework like anger, frustration, impatience, intolerance, judgment toward your child etc. are normal if you don’t have a blueprint of how peaceful parenting can look like. However, your brain can still change thanks to neuroplasticity. I help parents achieve a calmer way of responding exactly by building new neural pathways in their minds.
Your child’s feelings are valid, all of them
Understanding your child's perspective is crucial. Homework can be overwhelming, and your child may struggle with concepts or feel stressed about deadlines. Instead of dismissing their frustration, validate their feelings. This connection will not only strengthen your bond but also create a more supportive environment for tackling homework together. This could sound like:
“From your mood I can see that you are not very into homework today, am I right? I
understand honey, sometimes I also feel that I just want to lay down and chill after a day
of work. I’ll help you, we’ll do it together. What else could help you make this more fun?
Would you like a snack before we start? Or your favorite tea while we are at it?”
Routine is your little helper
Consistency is key when it comes to homework. Establish a routine that works for both you and your child. Whether it's a designated time each day or a specific study area, having a routine helps create a sense of predictability, making homework feel less like a battle and more like a structured part of their day. A routine can also be to have a cuddle and playtime together before homework, chill out together, or simply talk about their frustrations and fears they feel before even starting homework.
Sometimes, the sheer volume of homework can be overwhelming. Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. This not only makes the workload seem less daunting but also allows your child to experience a sense of accomplishment as they complete each section.
“Remember last week when you had a similar homework assignment and you got really
frustrated because it was difficult for you to write an entire page? I remember that too,
and I am wondering what you could do differently today so that you feel well doing
homework, maybe we take a popcorn break every 5 min for 5 min? Or we do jumping
jacks together after 5 min?”
Acknowledge and celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in creating a positive association with homework. Whether it's a high-five, a sticker, or a special treat, celebrate the victories to motivate your child to keep going.
Foster a Growth Mindset
Encourage a growth mindset by praising effort rather than innate abilities. Help your child understand that making mistakes is a natural part of learning. Emphasize the importance of perseverance and the belief that improvement is always possible. I use the growth mindset templates from Big Life Journal, they are wonderful! https://biglifejournal.com/
Be a comfortable Homework Buddy
Sit down with your child and be their homework buddy. Offer guidance when needed, but also allow them the space to work independently. This shared time can be an opportunity for bonding and can help diffuse any tension that may arise during homework sessions. A homework buddy is not a teacher, or a nagger, or a coach that drills you to score the next point. Be a supportive homework buddy and stay curious with your child.
Staying calm when your child hates homework requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to adapt. By cultivating a supportive environment, establishing routines, and celebrating successes, you can transform homework time from a battleground into a shared journey of learning and growth. Remember, the key is to approach the situation with love and understanding, creating a positive atmosphere that fosters a love for learning in the long run.
If you’d like to learn more about how to regulate your own emotions and feelings, how to let go of your past painful experiences as a child so that you can have a more peaceful relationship with your children, please reach out for a free consultation.
Stefanie Fernandes is a therapist certified in Rapid Transformational Therapy and Brainworking Recursive Therapy and a conscious parenting coach.
She specializes working with parents and children who find it difficult to manage their emotions in a healthy way.
Stefanie lives in Denmark with her spouse and her 2 children.
Find me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/iamstefaniefernandes/
And on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stefanie.p.fernandes/