1. Consider Location: Where Does Your Child Do His or Her Homework?
The bedroom is often the worst place in the house!
My very favorite study location: The public library
2. Stop lecturing, nagging, threatening, bribing and teasing.
Kids are NEVER lazy, spoiled, careless, or unmotivated.
They often ARE: Frightened, confused, lacking in skills or information, frustrated, angry, sad, pressured, preoccupied, worried that they are “dumb” or otherwise “abnormal.”
3. Help Them with Their Homework
Providing guidance and support is not cheating, and it will not foster dependency or laziness. Helping communicates compassion and models generosity and humanity.
4. Give Them More Responsibilities
We often excuse our students from chores, after-school or summer jobs, and volunteering (except for the kinds of volunteering that are “growth opportunities” and/or will look good on a college application). Our rationale is that our kids ought to focus their time and energy on their studies, their sports, their talents.
But, “menial” responsibilities provide necessary emotional and psychological outlets. It’s not a gift to be constantly self-focused (MY grades! MY scores! MY feelings! MY future!); in fact, it can be terrifying and depressing.
Baby-sitting, raking the yard, cleaning out the hamster cage, bagging groceries at ShopRite…these kinds of activities provide a change of perspective and a mental vacation from self-worry.
When students have more free time, they often spend it on FaceBook, iPhones and other technological distractions, not necessarily on studying more.
[photo of The Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge University, so named because it connects a dorm to the room where exams are given]
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Last reviewed: 13 Mar 2012