Homework – key concepts for parents

How to instill good study habits in the little pupil, what should be the role of the parent and how to understand if there are discomforts. Often it takes very little to get to crying and screaming. So the weekends instead of regenerating parents and children turn into (useless) matches.

Homework is useful for the child

Expert in learning psychology says that homework is useful for children and their growth for the following reasons:

  1. they help the little pupil to deal with the dimension of duty, they make them learn hard work;
  2. they develop the child’s ability to organize and become more autonomous;
  3. through work at home, a child learns to know himself better, to react to frustration, persisting with constancy and determination to pursue the goal;
  4. at home, the child can be more or less good, this is not the essential point. What matters is the challenge to carry on and not give up.

Remember that in many cases the rejection of a situation is linked to the fear of failure

Of course, it is not easy to ‘convince’ a child that homework is especially useful for him. For him they are an obligation and take away time from the game. Wrong, to persist in saying that homework is something fun

You can avoid stress with good habits

The first step to get children used to carrying out their homework without too many protests, in an increasingly autonomous way, is to follow a series of simple (but effective) precautions. Here are some tips for parents.

  • When to do homework? Don’t leave homework time to chance. Organization is important for children. At the beginning, it is also essential to be a little prescriptive: if you decide, for example, to dedicate Saturday morning to your homework, that’s it, full stop, you don’t have to do anything else.
  • Where to do their homework? The place to do their homework should help children concentrate. Also, there must be no games, video games, TVs, balls or other things around that can distract the child. If the room is shared with a little brother / sister or it is impossible to tidy up, perhaps it might be necessary to find an alternative place. For example, the kitchen table or a corner of the house where there is a desk and a chair.
  • Help when they need itThe parent who has more patience takes on the task of lending a hand to the child who asks for help or who does not understand something. Better to put it in your head: scolding and screaming only serve to stress the child and undermine confidence in his abilities. What parents should do is exactly the opposite: trust and highlight positive results (this is what psychologists call positive reinforcement).
  • Control or not control? At the beginning of school, it is best to check, for example, that the child remembers to do all the homework (not just the ones he prefers!). Or that he brings the necessary for drawing or physical education on the right day. The child grows, becomes more responsible and autonomous and also learns to manage his life at school. Of course, every child has their own rhythms, mom and dad must respect them and understand when the child is ready for greater autonomy and no longer needs constant ‘supervision’.

The advice emerged during a study day promoted by the Learning and Educational Psychology Service.

Mom and Dad need to give support and trust

The key concept is ‘being there’. What does it mean? The parent must offer the child emotional support for his fatigue, show understanding and help him develop a sense of responsibility and the ability to apply himself.

Also, he has to trust. It is very important to encourage the child when he is busy with his homework. The parent can / should reassure the child with a positive attitude. The message he has to convey is: ‘Come on, it’s okay, you can do it!’.

Not only. The adult must become an accomplice of the child in the ability to overcome obstacles. This does not mean doing his homework for him, but on the contrary accompanying him, if necessary, to overcome the rocks. The presence of the parent also has the function of supporting self-discipline: over time, the child will start doing his homework by himself, independently, without too much stress on the part of mum or dad.

The protagonist is the child, not the parent

The child must feel the protagonist of his school experience, it is very important. Parents must support him and be present but, be careful, they are not the ones who go back to school.

As soon as school starts, this objective, clear for the world of school, must also be at home, for the family. Therefore, it is necessary to support a path of autonomy for the child for every aspect of life.

Over time, the family can also help the child understand that, if at first you study to make your mother or teacher happy – in fact, learning new things makes sense to yourself and not to others or to your partner.

This is a gradual journey, which takes time and maturation, and changes for each child. At first, therefore, it may be necessary to insist on homework. In the early days at school, there are children who make a real effort, they are sick. You can try to stay close to them and then leave them 10 minutes alone to do their homework.

At times, parents have high expectations of their child, and they want him to go to school with his homework well done – and here is the temptation to do them instead of the children! – In some way, adults in short they feel valued. This attitude, however, does not help the child to learn and become more and more autonomous.

The child says no. What if it masks a discomfort?

Does the child launch into a thousand excuses and excuses to avoid homework? This behavior could also be a sign of discomfort and not just a whim.

In addition to talking to the child (or keeping him under observation for a while), it could be important to confront and talk to the teachers, to better understand the school and class context (relationship with teachers, relationships with companions for example) or if there are learning problems.

If the child is in opposition to homework, it is also very important to avoid insults, blackmail or punishment because they generate only an experience of helplessness and anger in the child. And over time, there is the risk of developing even stronger resistance towards the school.

Finally, keep in mind that the new generations live with intolerance boredom and lack of excitement, so for them to ‘resign’ or understand the importance of homework is a bit more difficult than previous generations.