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How to Get Your Kids to Do Their Homework

Has getting your kids to do their homework become your second job? Make the whole process less painful with these strategies.


  • Step 1: Monitor their schoolwork As soon as your kids come home, ask to see their homework assignments. If they see that you are on top of their schoolwork, they’ll be more apt to do the same.
  • Step 2: Empower your kids Let the kids feel they’re somewhat in charge by giving them the choice of when to do their homework—before dinner, after dinner, or half before and half after.
  • Step 3: Don’t meddle Be available to answer questions or help with problems, but don’t make homework time even more painful for your kids by hovering over them, judging everything they do.
  • Step 4: Cut out distractions Cut out anything that will distract them from doing their work, even if that means you can’t watch TV or chat on the phone during homework time.
  • TIP: While your kids are working, do some 'homework' of your own, like paying bills or reading a trade journal. This will make the whole concept of homework seem less unfair.
  • Step 5: Be generous with praise Be generous with praise—including offering kudos for simply doing the homework without carping about it. Young children in particular respond well to praise.
  • Step 6: Offer role models Give them role models to look up to—people who did their homework, like Einstein and Marie Curie.
  • Step 7: Offer incentives Offer incentives for getting homework done consistently, like clothing, a video game, a family trip to an action park, or permission to go to a concert or party they’re dying to attend.
  • Step 8: Point out schoolwork’s relevance Point out how the skills they are learning now will help them in the future. For example, tell your would-be actress daughter that she won’t be able to memorize her lines if she’s not a stellar reader.
  • TIP: Talk to your kids’ teachers if you feel their homework load is unreasonable. In elementary school, ten minutes times the grade number is sufficient; more than 90 minutes for middle schoolers or more than two hours for high school students is excessive.
  • Step 9: Set up study dates Set up occasional study dates with friends. While each student’s work should definitely be their own, studying with a friend can make homework more palatable.
  • TIP: It might be wise to check with your kids’ teachers just to make sure working in a group is allowed.
  • Step 10: Try reverse psychology If nothing is working, try reverse psychology. Stop trying altogether and let your kids discover the consequences of not doing homework. Just be welcoming when they come crawling back.
  • FACT: Half of parents polled in a survey admitted to having serious fights with their kids over homework.

You Will Need

  • A willingness to get involved in your childrenu2019s studies
  • Flexibility
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Motivators

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