Homework is an integral part of a child’s learning. It allows them to practise what they have learnt in class, develop time management and preparation skills, and acquire research skills and much more. As a parent, you will already be aware of the benefits of homework, but it can often be harder for your children to see these benefits. So, how can you motivate your child to hit the books at home?
Here we outline 5 ways to motivate your son to do his homework:
1. Make it easier for him
Help your son set up a homework area that is free of distractions and interruptions, and is quiet and comfortable. Ensure they have the tools they need to work (stationery, calculators, desk, chair etc.) so that time is not wasted looking for these things or procrastinating. This will create a space for him to work effectively with everything that he needs at hand. Computers, tablets, phones and other electronic devices should be removed as they can be a significant distraction. Of course if they are needed for learning, try to limit them to that purpose.
2. Replace the word ‘homework’
There are unfortunately many negative connotations associated with the word ‘homework’. The word itself could be a barrier to your son. Replacing the word ‘homework’ with ‘study’ can be beneficial as it focuses more on the process of learning. Getting your son into the habit of doing regular ‘study’ is helpful for the later years of secondary school and university when self-guided learning becomes more important.
3. Encourage intrinsic rewards
Intrinsic rewards are those that are not physical, for example the feeling of satisfaction or achievement gained from competing work or developing knowledge. Extrinsic rewards (food, toys, screen time etc.) are often only short-term solutions as your son may link work with immediate gain. This could cause your son to rush his homework as he tries to finish quickly in order to receive the reward. While this can be a good short-term motivator, it will not result in long-term, intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is achieved by giving positive affirmation for good behaviour so that your son connects these positive feelings with his study success and is motivated to continue.
4. Don’t do it for him
If you don’t give your son the chance to succeed himself, then he will be deprived of the experience and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with achieving a goal, solving a problem or finishing a task. It is helpful to remember that it is your job as a parent to provide your son with the resources and support required to complete their homework, and that it is their job to complete it.
5. Create a routine
Developing a routine will help your son to get into the habit of regular revision and study. He should see the benefits and rewards, which can motivate him to continue good study habits.
Unfortunately, there are very few children that get excited by the idea of doing homework, however it is possible to motivate your son to put in the effort and reap the rewards of diligence and dedication to homework and study.
A Trinity education seeks to engage the mind, body and spirit of each boy. Our commitment to academic excellence and holistic education seeks to nurture and encourage each boy to realise his unique potential, passions and purpose in life. To discover the Trinity difference, download our prospectus.