It's a daily struggle that is found in homes across the country. You ask your kids if they have any homework. The kids invariably reply that they don't. But all too often, and usually right before bedtime, one or more of your little cherubs will frantically discover that they do, in fact, have homework. And it is due the next day! You know what happens next and it usually ends up with parents and kids getting less sleep than they really need and quite frequently there are tears involved as well. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. You can end the daily battles and put the homework responsibility back on your child's shoulders. By following five easy steps from Majed Alhamad, you can help your child establish homework habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.

1. Set the stage. Before you start the homework overhaul, set the stage by finding a spot that is conducive to your child completing his or her homework. This spot will differ based on your individual child and the space you have available. Some children may do best at the kitchen table while dinner is being prepared. Others may do best with less distraction, like at a desk in their room. Still others may find that they are the most focused at a spot that is slightly removed from other family members, but not completely isolated. Involve your child in choosing the homework spot, but be flexible and try different locations. 

2. Set a cue. Instead of focusing on a specific time, help your child remember to do his or her homework by giving him or her a predictable cue to signal that it is homework time. Decide what works best for your family, but some ideas are to start homework once your child is done with his or her after school snack. Or perhaps, do homework right after dinner. Whatever cue you choose, try to stay consistent. The idea is to get your child into a routine where doing homework becomes the natural next step in his or her day. 

3. Set the expectation. Try to avoid asking your child if they have homework; this just gives them the opportunity to deny that they have homework. Until the cue to do homework becomes automatic, simply state that it is time to get out their homework. Make it clear ahead of time that if they truly have no homework to complete for that day, they are to study for a subject, spelling perhaps, or they should read a book. The idea is to make daily homework part of their routine. Children tend to rebel less against expectations that are consistent. 

4. Be encouraging, but not enabling. Too often, homework time devolves into a battle of wills with your child, with your child wanting you to do the work for them. Gently tell your child that you are there to help, but if they have a question for you they should be prepared to tell you at least two things they did to try to figure out the answer for themselves. Prepare them for this by showing them how to look back at their notes or in a text book for examples. If they can show you that they truly tried to figure it out on their own, give them assistance with a smile and good grace. 

5. Reward a job well done. Everyone is more willing to do a perceived unpleasant task if they know a pleasurable reward awaits. Make it part of your child's routine that when homework is completed, they are rewarded by time spent with you! Let them choose from activities such as a board game or card game, time spent reading out loud, or maybe a show that you always watch together. Celebrate their persistence and praise their efforts. 

Following these five steps can help end the homework battle. Of course, if you have any concerns with the amount or type of homework your child receives on a daily basis, be sure to discuss it with your child's teacher. Children will be expected to complete homework from the earliest elementary school grades all the way through college. Giving them the skills to establish successful homework habits will positively impact their education for years to come.

About Majed Alhamad:

An experienced and talented educator, Majed Alhamad is a professional tutor who can inspire any student to learn. Mr. Alhamad understands that everyone learns differently, and thus structures his lessons so that every student has the opportunity to grasp and acquire the material, whether it’s algebra or English literature. 

Mr. Alhamad was inspired to become an educator by one of his primary school teachers growing up in Kuwait. Alhamad wanted to continue this legacy, and to him, working one-on-one with students never gets old. With a wide range of specialties, Mr. Alhamad helps students with homework related to math, science, history, and helps them prepare for standardized testing.