How to Get Children to do Homework

Now that school is in session all over the country, many parents are asking for help dealing with homework—specifically how to handle a child who simply refuses to do homework.

For parents, it’s natural to think that getting children to do their homework is part of their job. As such, they may fight with their children, impose discipline when youngsters refuse to do their homework, or even beg and plead for children to complete their assignments. All of these scenarios take the responsibility for completing homework off the children and instead places it on the parent’s plate.

So what’s the solution?

First, realize that no one can force another person to learn. Children need to be motivated. If there is no motivation to do homework, don’t expect it to be done.

Also remember that homework is not a requirement for success in life or for grading in school. Therefore:

(1) Elicit from the student the reason that homework was assigned. Then (2) elicit the student’s motivation for not doing it. After you have prompted the student to reflect and articulate on both, then let the child know that you will no longer attempt to force homework to be done.

The message to give to the young person is that it is her/his life—that you will do your best to help the youngster direct what will be beneficial for her/him, but that the child makes his or her own decisions and must deal with whatever consequences arise from the decisions.

The elimination of coercion, prompting the youngster to reflect and articulate on the two items above, and placing the responsibility totally on the young person is the best approach for dealing with homework struggles.