Motivate your Children for Homework

Homework is considered to be a follow-up exercise from what was taught in school. Most of the children don't have the energy or the motivation to do it and parents always ask us what are some of the underlying causes and factors that make their kids so resistant to doing homework? We always explore if there's a learning disability? Is there a processing disorder? Are they autistic? Is there ADHD? Anxiety? Depression? 

I'm Tania Dasilva, the clinical director of Behavior Matters in Toronto, Canada. A lot of our families ask us how to deal with homework resistance. One of the first tips that we always start with is making sure that we're creating a schedule and a routine and essentially developing some structure in their day.

Picking a time or a place or an environment that your kids are going to be working on their homework is ideal, and then making sure that we're holding them accountable and that we're encouraging them to use that space in that time on a daily basis. This also falls into weekends. If Sunday afternoon is when we're going over homework, we want to make sure that we're accountable for that each week.

Another great strategy is also to use the first/then strategy. The first thing we're going to do is typically something we don't want to do. It could be spelling. It could be math, it could be homework just as a general concept. And then the thing that we're going to follow that with is a preferred item. So it always helps us sit with your kids and talk about, okay, what is it that you'd rather be doing instead of homework right now?

They're probably going to tell you Lego, arts and crafts, hanging out with their friends, watching movies. So, create that list and then use that to your benefit. So let them know that first, they're going to have to do their homework and then they can pick anything on that item. This really helps motivate kids and it honestly has us faceless resistance because they're thinking about what they're going to get once it's done.

The last tip that we always give is making sure that we're encouraging that growth mindset and also highlighting what they're really good at. So, talking to them about the subjects that they are really good at and giving them the opportunity to either start with those or end with those, as well as talking about the subjects that maybe they're not that good at or they don't really enjoy.

And again, letting them know that they have the choice as to when they work on those topics, as well as reminding them that if we continuously work on it, we are going to start getting better at it, it's going to start getting easier, and kind of using that moment of not enjoying it or not being good at it as a learning lesson and an opportunity for growth versus just being stuck on those uncomfortable or annoying feelings that cause resistance.

Another great thing to explore is learning styles. We all learn in different ways and your child might not be being taught in the way that they learn. So looking at, are they visual learners? Do they need to get right in there and try it? Are they better at reading things to themselves? Are they better at listening to what the lesson is versus having to read?

We all learn in different ways, so exploring what your child's learning style is is definitely going to be a helpful thing to do as well as practicing different learning styles, because that's going to start helping them develop the ability to be taught in different ways.

The other thing that we always explore is looking into what their expectations are. For a lot of kids, when it comes to homework, they're expecting that they always have to have the right answer, everything needs to be perfect, and then that also develops resistance because it's just an unrealistic goal.

So explore with them if they feel like it needs to be perfect if they're feeling like they're going to be embarrassed if they get the wrong answer, and essentially just how they feel about what it is that's expected of them. So definitely letting them know that their best is good enough and that we all fail and we all make mistakes and that's normal, that's part of the learning process, I think, is a really helpful factor and starts eliminating some of those underlying causes.

When it comes to homework, resistance teachers play a really big role. We always encourage the parents to reach out to their teachers and really ask them what they're observing in class. This is really going to help us figure out what the why is. Why is there resistance? Why are we struggling?

Another great part about this conversation is you can start talking about what are the other options, recommendations, accommodations, and things that can be done in a school outside of school to really help your child thrive when it comes to their learning.

So once you've had that conversation, you want to make sure that you're checking in with your child's teacher regularly to see, are we noticing progress? What are we noticing or what else is coming up? All of this is really helpful to make sure that we're on the same page and always remembering the teacher has the same goal that you have.

Essentially, we just want everyone to succeed and we want your child's learning experience to be the most positive that it can be, so sometimes it's better to look at recommendations and accommodations and additional supports instead of continuously facing that resistor.

Check more of this series here:

Exploring and practicing what your child's learning style is extremely helpful.

Key Takeaways:

Essential schedules and routines are helpful.
Encourage children by highlighting what they're really good at.
Allow them to have input along the way.

No More Homework Battles with Tania DaSilva

Do You Need help with a Learning Difficulty?

Our simple online analysis will help you get to the core of the problem and find the right solution for you.

Understanding how to help someone with a learning difficulty starts with understanding which micro-skills are affected. When you learn which of the micro-skills is the problem, you will then be on your way to solving it.

You'll also learn how to:

  • Build confidence
  • Enhance Learning ability
  • Eliminate avoidance
  • Build grit

You can get this analysis for free by filling out this simple form. This will help you get to the bottom of a learning difficulty and provide you with a solution. If you are ready to put this problem behind you click the button below and fill out the form.