Thank you for visiting Adventures In Parenting - where we talk about raising good kids.

Subscribe to RSS feed to get my latest posts, sign up for a newsletter, and join me on Facebook!

Win $50 for children's formal wear! Enter here.

How do you get your children to get their homework done?

February 19th, 2010 / 3 Comments

A parent asked me, “I’ve told my kids to do their homework when they first come home from school. But they just won’t do it, and end up finishing late. What can I do?”

The parent’s thinking  is to get homework out of way first, and that is a good study habit. This makes sense…only to the parent.

But not every child operate that way. Even as adults, we have different work styles. Haven’t you known people who do best with a little last minute pressure while others like to plan their work out and finish way before the deadline?  Some people like to work on one project at a time while others like working on several projects at the same time. We all do things a little differently.

Your work style may be different from your child’s. It will only frustrate both you and your child if you try to force him to do it your way.

This is what I suggest to the parent:

Since your kids are in upper elementary school, they should be allowed to manage their own time, with some guidance from you. Sit down with the kids and work out a mutually agreed upon schedule of when they will get their homework done.

Here’s how the conversation would go:

Mom: “I’ve been telling you to finish your homework before 5pm. But you don’t seem to want to do it right after school. Let’s set a schedule when you will get your work done.”

Son: “Don’t worry, I’ll just get it done before I sleep.”

“I am here to help you manage your time and develop good study habits. Give me a time when you will finish your homework every night.”

“Alright, 9pm.”

“It’ll be better if you finish earlier to allow time for playing or cleaning up before you go to bed. How about if you finish your work by 7:00pm.”

“I’ll get it done, don’t worry.”

“I need you to set a time for me.”

“Alright, alright, 7:30pm.”

“Sounds good. Every day, I will check your homework at exactly 7:30pm. If it’s all done by 7:30pm, you get a sticker on the chart. Five stickers and you get _________( fill in a small prize that you both agree on). But if homework is not done by 7:30pm, you get a X on the chart. Five Xs and you get your  _________ (fill in privilege that you both agree on) taken away.

Here you’ve allowed your child to have input into making some of the rules and he deemed reasonable. He has some latitude, and you’ve allowed some flexibility. He knows the consequences, and you must stick by what you’ve agreed to.

Now, what do you do when 7:00pm rolls around, and your child hasn’t even STARTED his homework?

Nothing! That’s right. Don’t remind him, don’t nag him. Tempting as it may be to shake him a bit, it is vitally important to keep your mouth shut and let the consequences take its course.

When your child experiences both the positive and negative consequences of his actions, he will surely learn to monitor his time.

This type of negotiating and setting up rules is important to start in pre-adolescence. When teen years come around, I guarantee you will be doing a lot more of this. It sets the stage for finding mutually agreeable ways of handling many situations. Better get used to it now!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


  1. […] the previous post, I offered a suggestion on how to get your children to do homework. It includes offering them a […]

  2. Great approach!

  3. Thanks, Pete. Your boys are getting to that age where you’ll probably be negotiating with them!


Leave A Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>