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How to Lessen Your Kids' Homework Anxiety

By Tim Heinecke

Posted  June 13 2017 | 0 Shares

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Are you battling every night of the week to get your children to complete their homework and to begin and complete their assignments? Conflict over homework tasks is one of the most common concerns parents complain about and is there any wonder? Homework anxiety is the result of the vicious circle of kids not wanting to do their tasks and parents pushing them to do it.

What word can you think of that contains ‘work’ that is particularly pleasant anyway? Workdays, housework, roadwork, even a gym workout can be painful. Perhaps the only ‘work’ that everyone looks forward to is fireworks, but not the fireworks that happen immediately after the slightest mention of homework.

A google search will produce thousands of articles suggesting a whole range of ideas to help avoid this source of conflict that occurs in many homes; however, if any of these actually worked, then there would be harmony at home. So why then is the regular rumble over homework still the norm in most households?

Read: Common causes of anxiety in children

Parents of older children might have experienced the effects of the twilight zone that materialise when they reach the age of part-time employment. Teens who have lunch boxes that could double as science experiments and fermenting bath towels under their bed are suddenly enthusiastic about sweeping the floors at McDonalds. How does this happen? How does one do the complete 180 degrees flip from harvesting previously undiscovered strains of mould in an untidy bedroom to happily scouring a fry hopper?

The important point here is not to waste time trying to explain this phenomenon but instead to tap into this power to help alleviate the pressure homework anxiety brings most nights.

Teenagers working part-time jobs earn a small wage, not enough to make much of a dent in the cost of living, but enough to give them a feeling of independence. They also feel that they play an important, and, in their mind, an irreplaceable part of something worthwhile. Both of these essential beliefs are not addressed with the seeming monotony of most homework tasks. Instead, children are encouraged to provide conforming responses to a group of closed questions.

So what can parents do to lessen homework anxiety as kids complete their weekly tasks?

Read: Stress management for kids

Working together at the same time as your child completes their homework helps to contribute towards a sense of collegiality. Whether you have documents that you need to complete or an understanding of what it is that your child has been tasked to complete, it all contributes towards the idea that your child is a part of something more. There are many things that we have to do even when we don’t want to, however, persisting towards completion is an important skill now and well into the future.

Remaining involved with homework and communicating the benefits of the process allows you to extend your child’s thinking beyond the required tasks.

Two examples are:

  1. Mathematics problems, exploring area or volume, can be examined out in a park or in the kitchen when cooking or baking a cake.
  2. Science questions that require your child to weigh up the reasons behind global warming can become an existential examination of the fate of low-lying nations if sea levels were to rise.

Regardless of your opinion or the latest research that shape our thinking, homework is here to stay. A narrow focus on the failings of homework does a disservice to the potential benefits that happen as a result of this process.

Most working adults, would prefer holidays and be relaxing by a pool over the grind of the workplace at any time. The idea of mandatory tasks to be done at home, well after the workday has finished, holds little appeal. This is no different for children. It is no coincidence, if given the choice, kids would much rather be at the playground, on the PlayStation, or on a playdate at any time rather than sitting to complete their homework.

Reviewed by Tim Heinecke 13 June 2017 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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How to Lessen Your Kids’ Homework Anxiety

PARENTING

Are you battling every night of the week to get your children to complete their homework and to begin and complete their assignments? Conflict over homework tasks is one of the most common concerns parents complain about and is there any wonder? Homework anxiety is the result of the vicious circle of kids not wanting to do their tasks and parents pushing them to do it.

What word can you think of that contains ‘work’ that is particularly pleasant anyway? Workdays, housework, roadwork, even a gym workout can be painful. Perhaps the only ‘work’ that everyone looks forward to is fireworks, but not the fireworks that happen immediately after the slightest mention of homework.

A google search will produce thousands of articles suggesting a whole range of ideas to help avoid this source of conflict that occurs in many homes; however, if any of these actually worked, then there would be harmony at home. So why then is the regular rumble over homework still the norm in most households?

Read: Common causes of anxiety in children

Parents of older children might have experienced the effects of the twilight zone that materialise when they reach the age of part-time employment. Teens who have lunch boxes that could double as science experiments and fermenting bath towels under their bed are suddenly enthusiastic about sweeping the floors at McDonalds. How does this happen? How does one do the complete 180 degrees flip from harvesting previously undiscovered strains of mould in an untidy bedroom to happily scouring a fry hopper?

The important point here is not to waste time trying to explain this phenomenon but instead to tap into this power to help alleviate the pressure homework anxiety brings most nights.

Teenagers working part-time jobs earn a small wage, not enough to make much of a dent in the cost of living, but enough to give them a feeling of independence. They also feel that they play an important, and, in their mind, an irreplaceable part of something worthwhile. Both of these essential beliefs are not addressed with the seeming monotony of most homework tasks. Instead, children are encouraged to provide conforming responses to a group of closed questions.

So what can parents do to lessen homework anxiety as kids complete their weekly tasks?

Read: Stress management for kids

Working together at the same time as your child completes their homework helps to contribute towards a sense of collegiality. Whether you have documents that you need to complete or an understanding of what it is that your child has been tasked to complete, it all contributes towards the idea that your child is a part of something more. There are many things that we have to do even when we don’t want to, however, persisting towards completion is an important skill now and well into the future.

Remaining involved with homework and communicating the benefits of the process allows you to extend your child’s thinking beyond the required tasks.

Two examples are:

  1. Mathematics problems, exploring area or volume, can be examined out in a park or in the kitchen when cooking or baking a cake.
  2. Science questions that require your child to weigh up the reasons behind global warming can become an existential examination of the fate of low-lying nations if sea levels were to rise.

Regardless of your opinion or the latest research that shape our thinking, homework is here to stay. A narrow focus on the failings of homework does a disservice to the potential benefits that happen as a result of this process.

Most working adults, would prefer holidays and be relaxing by a pool over the grind of the workplace at any time. The idea of mandatory tasks to be done at home, well after the workday has finished, holds little appeal. This is no different for children. It is no coincidence, if given the choice, kids would much rather be at the playground, on the PlayStation, or on a playdate at any time rather than sitting to complete their homework.

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 13 June 2017
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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0 comments

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