How to get off the 'homework police' beat

Send a link to a friend

[JULY 29, 2005]  Q: When my daughter was in elementary school, I constantly nagged her to do her homework. Now that she's older, I'd like to stop being the "homework police." How can I get her to be more responsible?

A. Parents can be their own worst enemies when getting children to do homework. As long as you're nagging, the responsibility for homework is yours. And nagging can backfire. Your daughter might become angry and not do her homework. Or this might be her way to get your attention.

Here are some ways to help your daughter be more responsible for her learning:

  • Put your daughter in control. Let her decide when, where and how she completes assignments. Have her choose a set time to do homework every day, whether it's right after school or after dinner. Responsible students study every day. When their teachers assign no homework, these students "assign themselves" review work.

  • Help her set learning goals for herself. Make sure they're realistic -- like turning in a book report on time or raising a grade from a C to a B. Talk about how to accomplish the goals. Make sure she knows how to get the resources and help she needs.

  • Help your daughter get organized. One of the best ways to help children be responsible and keep track of school assignments is to use an assignment book or chart.

[to top of second column in this article]

  • Show that you value school by asking questions about what your daughter is learning. Don't just ask, "How much homework do you have?" or "Is your homework done?"

  • Don't let your daughter "off the hook." Let her suffer the consequences when she doesn't do what's necessary. Make it clear that you expect her to complete her homework, and you can reward her with a fun activity if she finishes her homework with time to spare. But if she doesn't finish her work, let her get that zero from the teacher.

  • Build your daughter's expectations for increased independence. The quicker she demonstrates responsibility in doing her homework, the sooner you'll be able to give her more control in other areas.

[The Parent Institute]

For more information about helping children learn or to submit your own question, go to All questions will receive a prompt answer by e-mail.

"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful Children" is a free syndicated column from the Parent Institute.

< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor