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How to keep kids motivated at the end of the school year.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The school year is winding down.  You may be wondering what you can do to get homework completed without aggravation.  After all, the sun is shining, the weather is mild and your kids would much rather be outside than sitting at their desks.
My solution is to be proactive.  Schedule a time with your kids and have a discussion about expectations.  You share yours and listen as your child shares his.  Then get started on a plan.  Have a short list of what you want ready so that it can be discussed and the kids can add to it.  My list would include:

  • No fussing
  • No stalling
  • No rushing and producing a sloppy assigning
  • Start with the most challenging homework assignment
  • It is ok to take short, 3-5 minute breaks for every 20 minutes of homework
  • All homework must be finished before playing outside

All of these expectations are important, but they also may be tough.  The key to making homework time successful, when the sun is still up, is to remain flexible and reward a job well done.  Consider setting up a rewards system.  Create a chart, have the day of week at the top, and list criteria of mutually agreed upon goals on the side.  Each night when homework time has been stress-free, put a star under the appropriate day of the week.  After the agreed upon number of stars has been reached, the reward is earned.

Rewards do not have to be costly or complicated.  A few suggestions might include 5 minutes extra on the computer, selecting a favorite dinner menu, or being permitted to read a little longer at bedtime.

Parents, the good news is that summer will soon be here and nightly homework responsibilities will be on a hiatus.  BUT in future blogs I will be suggesting ways to keep your kids busy and engaged over the summer with reading activities.

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