child doing homeworkAre you excited as I am about putting the kid on a bus and sending them back to school? Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's one little monster waiting in that closet ready to jump out and scream Ooga Booga and scare the heck out of us. I'm talking about homework, people!

Oh how we dread the inevitable fight with a kid who is really glad to be done with the school day and really not looking forward to settling down to do worksheets and spelling lists. But what if it didn't have to be a fight? What if there was a perfect way to get the homework done so they'll be a superstar in school?

The Stir asked parents of a few smarty pants kids how they make it happen in their house. Feel free to steal any of their ideas!

1. Create a homework station. If your kid is doing homework in the dining room one night, the living room the next, is it any wonder it's chaotic? If they have one spot fully stocked with freshly sharpened pencils, glue sticks, and everything else they need, it lets them get right down to business.

2. Get their sillies out first. It's almost instinctual to want the kids to buckle down to start their homework RIGHT away when they get home. But think about how you operate after a long day at work. Don't you want to unwind a little? Tell them they have 10 minutes to run around the yard, sit in front of the video game, play with their toys, whatever ... and then homework. After a long day of sitting in school, then sitting on the bus, this is their "unwinding." A little warning from the mom who does this: be firm beforehand about the time limit to reduce the chance of a fight.

3. Let them snack. Don't you think better on a full stomach? I know I do! Homework time may be right before dinner, so you don't have to give them a full meal, but something small to fill the belly can settle them down and make them more comfortable. My daughter doesn't do a slap-dash job of her homework when she's not worrying about getting it done so we can have dinner.

4. Give rewards. Yes, homework is part of a kid's "job." But jobs give bonuses and incentives, don't they? One mom says she's found that something as simple as a sticker for a completed math sheet or an extra book at bedtime for a perfect sheet of sentences has really helped make her son more motivated.

5. Let them ask for help. No, you shouldn't "do" your child's homework for them because that ends up hurting them in the end. But if they're not understanding something, letting them sink isn't going to help either. One mom confesses it was through her son's homework that she was able to figure out he just wasn't "getting" math, and she was able to talk to the teacher about getting him extra help. Letting him know he COULD ask her for help was the key that really got him ahead in school.

What are your tips for making homework time really work FOR your child?

 

Image via spiritinme/Flickr