Homework helper in Bahrain

Child psychologist Mariam Adel Alammadi on getting kids to do their homework Discuss this article

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In many households homework is a daily struggle for both parents and children. Often parents say how difficult it is to see their kids get frustrated and deflated when they’re unable to complete their assignments and, understandably, it can become a temptation for parents to give in and simply do the homework themselves to save much anguish and frustration.

However by crossing the line between aiding your child’s learning and doing the work for them, you need to understand this can have a profound effect on a child’s educational development, especially if it occurs frequently.

Psychologically it also sends a message to your child that you think they can’t do it.

Subsequently, in their next assignments, any time they struggle they will believe they are incapable, which is not the message anyone wants to send to their child.

A teacher will also have no way of knowing that your child struggled with the task and your child may never understand the concept.

All in all mum or dad doing the homework will just hinder your child’s academic career and you are actually doing the exact opposite of helping them while you probably had good intentions.

The important thing to remember is why the homework was given by a teacher in the first place. The primary goal is for a child to practice and reinforce something important learned in class. Homework also offers children the opportunity to learn to work independently which is a skill they need to perfect for later in life.

Giving children an assignment allows them to tackle a problem, break it down and accomplish a goal. It also allows a child to be self-motivated and strive to do well in themselves.

As a parent you try to educate your children about responsibility and by rescuing them and doing the homework for them, you rob them of the lesson of responsibility. There are consequences for not meeting expectations and deadlines in life and this is taught from school age so later on in life children are equipped for university life and/or employment.

Homework does not need to be perfect but instead it needs to show that your child gave their best attempt and that is what you want to encourage.

Although most parents want to see their child strive academically, make sure homework is about your child and when they receive good feedback they themselves enjoy the praise.

Another important aspect of homework is getting it right from the beginning.

Firstly you need to set a time and place for homework. Children respond best to a routine and consistency. The best time for a child to study is after lunch so that they are full of energy and brain power. Find a quiet space in your home with a table and chair, devoid of any distractions, and make this a permanent homework space.

Go through your child’s homework with them every day and allow them to make a schedule for big assignments and projects so nothing gets left to the last minute.

Before a child leaves school make sure they have all the books they need for their homework so you avoid the ‘I left my books in my locker, I cant do my homework’ dilemma.

From time to time check on your child and praise any good work you see them complete. Encouraging effort made by the child is key, even more important than the achievement of high marks.
Allow them to take comfort breaks.

Never bribe a child to complete their homework, instead reward good exam results by taking them on an educational trip to learn more about something that they are currently studying in school. By bribing a child you teach them that a reward is needed for homework to be completed.

Finally, what do you do when your son or daughter simply does not understand?

If your child becomes frustrated calmly ask which parts they understand and which they don’t. Let them begin with the parts they do understand. Communication is key.

Then ask why they don’t understand?

Did the teacher cover this concept in class or is it new? Did the teacher give the lesson but they were distracted and talking to classmates? If the answer is yes, be careful here not to discipline your child as you want to encourage honest communication. Try to emphasis why listening in class is important and now, as a result, they have missed the lesson and might not do as well as they are capable of doing.

Did the teacher explain this concept in class but your child was unable to understand and absorb it? This is crucial and, if your child says yes, firstly try to re-explain the idea to them if you can. Otherwise use your child’s homework diary as a resource. Tell their teacher prior that you will write in the notes section if you feel your child has not understood something. Teachers actually encourage this as it allows them to assess a child’s progress and often if one child has failed to understand, it can be true of others in the class.

Liaise with your child’s school as much as possible and show an active interest in your child’s learning.

Finally, as a parent, discover what learning techniques work for your child. Often adolescents can reach university and still not know how they learn best. Try to find this out early. This gift is priceless. By understanding how your child learns and allowing them to understand their learning style, you give them a resource they will use for the rest of their lives. Homework can be tedious but following these simple tips and guidelines, hopefully will help make homework time a more enjoyable experience for both you and your child.

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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