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Is it Okay to Nag Kids to Do Their Homework?

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Is it Okay to Nag Kids to Do Their Homework?

Learn how to motivate kids to get their homework done.

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Question: Is it Okay to Nag Kids to Do Their Homework?
My thirteen-year-old son has a lot of homework now that he’s in junior high. When he comes home, he wants to eat dinner, play video games and relax in front of the TV. I find myself constantly nagging him to get his homework done. He’s a smart kid and I don’t want him to fall behind, but I’m afraid if I don’t get after him, he won’t get his work done. Is it okay to nag kids to do their homework?
Answer:

Most kids don’t like homework. And can you blame them? After sitting in school all day, most of them can find lots of other things they would rather do than sit down and tackle algebra problems. However, it’s important to find effective discipline strategies to help them get their work done on time so they can be successful in school. Although it can be tempting to nag, there are some alternative strategies that are likely to be more effective in getting kids to do their homework.

The Problems with Nagging

There are several problems with nagging. One problem is that nagging often means that the parent is taking on more responsibility than the child is to get his homework done. If you spend your evening nagging, begging, and trying to motivate your son to do his work, you’re likely putting more energy and investment in his work than he is.

Nagging until your child finally gives in isn’t teaching him self-discipline. Instead, he’s likely only doing his work because he wants you to stop nagging him, not because he thinks it is important to do his homework. Your child will likely dislike homework even more if it becomes a power struggle each night to get him to do it.

Another reason that nagging can be problematic is that it teaches your child that he doesn’t have to listen to you the first time you tell him something. If he knows you’re going to say “Do your homework,” at least ten times, he’s not going to be motivated to do it the first nine times you say it.

Allow for Natural Consequences

Sometimes it makes sense to allow for natural consequences. For example, if you don’t nag him, he might not do his work. What happens when he doesn’t get his homework done?

It’s likely there will be a consequence at school. Perhaps he has to stay after school with the teacher to get his work done. Or maybe he simply gets a zero for not getting it done on time. Allowing him to experience these sorts of consequences may help motivate him to do his work the next time.

Motivate Your Child to do His Work

A report card alone doesn’t motivate all kids to do their work. For many kids, they are more concerned with what’s going on today, not what sort of a grade they will receive on a report card in a few months. These kids need more positive consequences to motivate them.

You can motivate your child to get his work done by setting limits with electronics. Establish a household rule that says there are no electronics until homework is done. Then, leave it up to him to decide when to do his work. The earlier he gets it done, the more time he’ll have to do the things he likes. If he chooses not to do his work, instead of nagging him, just make sure he doesn’t have access to his electronics.

You can provide extra incentive to do his homework with a reward system. For example, if he gets his homework done each day, give him a reward on the weekend. Or use a token economy system and provide him with a token each day his work is done. Allow him to exchange the tokens for rewards worth various points. Get him involved in choosing the rewards and he’ll be motivated to earn them.

Provide praise whenever you catch him making good choices and doing his work. Point out when you see he is working hard and praise him for getting good grades. Work with his teacher to ensure you can remain involved in ensuring he is doing his work on time.

Problem-Solve Together

When your child is struggling to get his homework on time it can be helpful to problem-solve with him. It’s possible that the work may be too difficult for him, he doesn’t understand his homework or he forgets to write down his assignments. Often, if you work together to solve the problem you may find fairly easy solutions that fix the problem quickly.

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