Last year, your kid had carte blanche after school. This year, her backpack habours a new deluge of homework. To find out how to help your child make the transition into homeworkville, I had a latté with Mary Monaghan, an expert on Parentology. Parentology is described as “life coaching meets parenting.” It’s an approach that encourages awareness of your own behaviour, deep listening and respect for your child’s unique personality.
1. Be around when they first come home with the homework. Be curious about what they’re doing. Remember that kids want to be seen and heard.
2. If they put up a fuss about doing their homework, ask them why they’re reacting that way. If their reason is “I want to play instead,” let them decide to play now and do the homework later. Play is important – there is a lot of learning to be had through play. Focus on more than the homework.
3. If they don’t like a certain subject at school, ask them why they don’t like it. Try to work through some of it with them but put a fun spin on it. For example, if it’s math, relate the problem to sports or count pizza toppings.
4. Have an open relationship with your kids in general. Don’t be judgemental about their feelings towards school. Listen to them and hopefully they’ll be open with you.
5. Don’t try to force them to like the same subjects as you did when you were in school. Just because you excelled in science doesn’t mean they will.
6. If the time for homework comes and they still balk at it, let them choose to skip it. The power of choice builds a child’s confidence and sense of self. Not all choices will be good, but the bad ones come with huge learnings. They’ll see what the repercussions are at school the next day. If they come home upset because the teacher scolded them for not doing their homework, talk to them about what choice they’ll make next time.
If you’re interested in learning more about Parentology, Mary is hosting a three day course in Toronto from October 28 – 30, 2011. Click here for more info.