Daily Archives: January 11, 2014

Homework motivation

Thank you to everyone that replied to my post Back to school homework help One of the common problems that parents/carers have is to motivate their child to do their homework after school. Many found that their children complained of being too tired or just simply refused to do any at all. I know in our house, their is often evenings where my son decides that no matter what I do, he is certainly not doing his homework at all! I am going to try out some different ideas with him to get him more motivated. It is not guaranteed that all of them will work but as long as I find one or two that do, then I’ll be happy. As with a lot of things, I have discovered over the years that often an idea works but only for a limited amount of time. Changing tact ever so often is not a problem.

This week, we are going to try the ‘Points win prizes,’ idea. Basically, if my son does his homework for an evening, he wins a star to be written up on the chalk board. Alternatively, you could put stickers on a chart or piece of paper. To start with we will tolerate the odd bit of fuss as long as he does as much homework as I’ve asked him to during the evening for him to gain a star. As time goes on, we will gradually allow less and less disruption for him to gain a star. We have discussed which prizes he wants to win. We have split it up into three categories of prizes: five stars, ten stars and fifteen stars. He can collect after, for example, five stars if he likes but then his total will go back down to zero stars for him to build them up again.

Five stars: A trip to the park, a bag of sweets, £1 or a toy from the pound shop;
Ten stars: A swimming session, a trip to the local petting farm, £2 or a new book worth £2;
Fifteen stars: A full day out to the soft play area, a trip to the cinema, £4 or a day at the arcades.

We wrote each on separate pieces of coloured paper, red for five stars, blue for ten stars and yellow for fifteen stars and put them into a pot. My son also asked me to put a few ‘surprises’ in there, to make it more fun.

We are going to start slowly, with encouraging him to do the homework he enjoys the most, reading. We will give him lots of praise and put the star up where all can see it. If he earns a star, it stays there. If he misbehaves another day, we will not remove a star as punishment as I believe this will be undermining the whole idea and will de-motivate him. Once he has earned a star, it is there for him to be proud of.

We are going to try not to nag him. Ideally, we would like homework to be seen as a positive aspect and not a chore. My six year old is often exhausted after a full day at school, especially by the end of the week, so we will try to start the, ‘Points win prizes,’ star collecting at the beginning of the week. We will also remember that, after all, he is only six and he is meant to be gaining a love of learning that will last him for the rest of his life. We do not want to force him to do his homework but we do need to be supportive as well as talking to him about the importance of it all.

We will see how it all goes! I hope he gains a star tonight with his reading. If he doesn’t, we will persevere with this method by trying it again another day. It is sometimes more difficult for him to get back into the routine of doing homework after the holidays or if he’s been ill for a few days. We will try though. I’ll let you know what happens!

If you have tried this with your child/children, did you have any success with it? How could it be improved? What other methods have you tried to motivate your child/children to do their homework? I’d love to hear from you!