How To Make Children Do Their Own Homework: Instead Of You Doing It For Them

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Watching your kids go to school must have been exciting, especially in the initial days. You get to dress them up in pretty uniforms and prepare them for the real world. But soon, parents come to realize that it’s not only their children who will be facing the challenges of schoolwork. Parents have to be equally involved in their kids’ activities and help them out in braving the tough regime. Chances are that your kid doesn’t do his/her homework without some intervention from you.

Several parents struggle with their kids when it comes to homework, either because the child refuses to do it, shows no interest in doing so, or just asks you to do it. Your child’s study time can be a real nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s totally possible to make your child enjoy his/her homework and not totally depend on you. Let’s look at some ways:

1. Understand That You’re Not Helping If You Do It Yourself

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A lot of parents end up doing their children’s homework simply because they don’t want to take the trouble of teaching them, or they feel bad for their kids. If you fall into this category, then you should know that you’re not doing your child a favor. Instead, you’re making them highly dependent on you and inhibiting their learning process. You can provide the guidance and support they need when they have trouble doing their homework, but you cannot and should not do the whole thing yourself. When you come across a mistake in what they’ve done, show them where they went wrong and how to solve the problem the right way.

When your child has just been introduced to the concept of homework, you can check to see where they have gone wrong and handhold them through the process. But as they get the hang of it, all you need to do is see for yourself if they have done their homework. They’ll learn on their own the consequences of doing something wrong, or not doing it at all when their teacher deals with them in school. Just like us, children learn through their mistakes, so don’t mollycoddle them when it comes to their lessons!

2. Help Them Organize Their Workspace

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Ever noticed how your ability to work is affected when your workspace is a cluttered mess? There’s something about organizing and cleaning up your workspace — it helps you work and focus much better. The same holds true for your child as well (1). Show your child what a clean workspace will look like, and help them organize their workspace in a similar fashion. You could make it fun by giving them colorful post-its and a kid’s planner, to make things more interesting for them. Inculcate in them the habit of clearing their workspace before they get started, and after they’re done. Designate a particular area at home which your child uses only for study, and not for play and sleep.

3. Help Them Organize Homework According To Priority

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Sit with your child and help them figure out an outline for their homework. You can help them set priorities, so they can begin with the most important ones and leave nothing pending. For example, if they have a test the next day, maybe they could get started with that before they finish anything else that is in the pipeline. Similarly, you could get them to do the more difficult ones in the beginning, and save the fun assignments for the end, when they are more relaxed.

To help them prioritize their homework, you will have to take into account a few factors such as overall volume of work, how much time will be necessary on each, the deadline that the teacher has set, as well as the areas in which your child will need help. Create a list of priorities keeping all these factors in mind.

4. Motivate And Encourage Them

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A few words of encouragement and motivation can go a long way. You’ll be surprised to see how positive reinforcement can work wonders for your child (2). You could create a weekly list of tasks that your child has to complete and at the end of each week, you can reward them with something they like such as their favorite foods or extra time on television. Also, every time your child has completed a difficult task which they found to be a problem, tell them how proud you are that they did it. This won’t just make them feel good about themselves, it can also push them to work harder and better.

A lot of parents are quick to reprimand their children when they make mistakes, but forget to acknowledge them when they do something right. This creates a huge bias over time where your kids start thinking that you only like to scold and correct them. Make sure you don’t do that. Kids are observant and they notice things. It’s okay to correct them when they’re wrong, but it is equally important to reward them when they’re right!

5. Encourage Them To Ask Questions And Clear Doubts

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Don’t yell at them or show that they’re being an inconvenience when they ask you questions. Remember that they are only children and what might sound stupid to you might be genuine curiosity to them. Children are curious, and it’s okay to be that way. When you show your annoyance at their questions, they will refrain from asking important questions to you and even at school. This can really hamper the learning process and overall confidence of the child in voicing their thoughts and opinions. Encourage them to ask questions, and while doing so, teach them to ask questions politely. This is a learning curve for them, and it will widen their opportunities to learn new things.

The learning process takes time and patience. Be there for your child when required, handhold them if need be, but don’t interfere with their learning process. You’re setting the tone not just for their homework, but for their future life in general! Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to help your child with their homework? Let us know in the comments below!


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The Physical Environment And Child Development: An International Review
  2. Recognition for Positive Behavior as a Critical Youth Development Construct: Conceptual Bases and Implications on Youth Service Development
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