Managing Homework Resistance

Many children dislike homework and I know you might too, it’s all those nightly battles before it’s due in the next day, exhausting!! Is homework resistance part of your termly routine? Here are my tips to help you throughout the new term.

1. Could it be a trigger for conflict?

First of all, anything can be a vehicle of conflict between you and your child. Conflicts frequently arise around mealtimes, getting up, siblings, screen time and homework. Is homework the one for you?

All these interactions are to do with relationships: each party brings their contribution which has an impact. Take a moment to reflect on your thoughts and beliefs around learning. For example:

  • Do you lack confidence in this area?
  • Are you worried about them doing well?
  • Have you grown up in a culture where doing well matters above all else?
  • Do you feel guilty if you have to set a limit if it’s not completed?

Allow any feelings to arise when you think about homework and above all treat yourself with kindness if you have any thoughts of self-aggression.

2. Try and understand what’s behind the resistance

Be curious, I’ve spent over 25 years working with children with undiagnosed learning difficulties. Hence, processing speed, working memory, and fine motor skills can affect your child’s capacity to manage and complete homework. Furthermore, anxiety, ADHD and ADD can all impact too.

Symptoms of ADHD

Check with their school, you may have to request an Educational Psychology Assessment or an Occupational Health Assessment

3. Brainstorm ideas

It’s really okay to be stuck in parenting and not be sure how to progress. There may not be the magic solution but I am sure it could be less painful for everyone if you work it out together. Brainstorming may be the way forward, you might approach it by saying a phrase like this:

I am not really sure how to help you with your homework, we keep getting annoyed with each other, I value/appreciate your ideas, could we set aside some time to brainstorm the problems together?

Above all, make a plan, stick to it and have regular reviews.

4. Model Self Control and Calm.

You can help your child by modelling calm, self-talk and problem-solving. For example, if you are having trouble doing something, you might say:

I’d better stop and think about this for a while

For an anxious child focus on the process rather than the outcome. Instead of asking them what mark they received, you might say

Did you try your hardest?, then whatever happens is not important

Also, if your child is very active, it’s important to offer calm and quiet times during the day or offer special time. Teach them to use their breath or visualizations if they start to get become frustrated.

5. Manage “Helping”

When we see our children struggle, it’s natural to offer help. The help may keep them from failure but in addition, prevent them from learning. Every child is unique and may need different levels of support.

6. Use Time Boundaries to Support You

It’s always helpful to make the task time-limited, and then have a break. Use an egg timer. Some children may only to manage 10 minutes and then a quick break. This is especially so for children who are emotionally dysregulated or may have a learning difficulty. However, insist that they need to finish the task before they can do something else. No videos games until homework is completed.

7. Get help

Finally, if your child continues to struggle and you’ve tried many solutions, seeking help for their mental, emotional health or any learning difficulties may be the way forward.

Furthermore, remember to say I love you no whatever you do or say forever. When your child knows that they are loved unconditionally no matter what, the connection and attachment between you will be secure for life and everything is much easier. I hope homework times are transformed. If you need a bit more help, do contact me for a consultation. With love always Catherine

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