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My child doesn't want to do homework! 7 tips parents can do

At our 6th scoyo parents' evening online, we spoke to experts, all of them mothers and fathers themselves, about the “stress factor homework - what really relieves parents and children”. One parent question in particular, which we received by email, was the focus of the discussion:

"I have to push my child with homework every afternoon. My daughter dawdles around. If I sit down and she makes a mistake or doesn't understand something, she gets a screaming fit and lets herself slip under the table. She just doesn't want to do homework . What can I do there? " 

Our experts advise:

Watch the full length video: Homework stress factor? What relieves parents and children - 6th scoyo parents' evening online

7 tips to help when kids don't want to do homework

Click on the links to get to the detailed tips.

1. Take a deep breath first. You are absolutely not alone in this situation.

2. Accept that homework cannot always be fun. Sometimes they present a challenge that allows children to learn new things, perhaps to surpass themselves and develop personally. However, this is only possible if students struggle through on their own.

3. Take child seriously, acknowledge effort.This gives children the feeling of being able to create something independently.

4. Hand over responsibility for homework to the child - and endure if it doesn't want to do its homework.

5. Create good framework conditions. This is how parents help most.

6. In an emergency, talk to the teacher. Encourage the child to provide honest feedback to the teacher when homework is too difficult. But also as parents talk to teachers and children if something becomes too much in the long term / leads to stress.

7. If necessary, choose a school without homework.

So that you can better assess whether the type and amount of homework makes sense:

Homework is basically there to

  • to deepen and apply what has been learned from the classroom.
  • To get children used to independent and structured work.
  • to give the teacher individual feedback on the children's performance level.
  • Homework doesn't make sense if you ...

  • ... does not grow out of the classroom and does not lead back to it. They have to be an integral part of the lesson.
  • ... do not give meaningful feedback to the teacher or he does not consider it as such.
  • ... do not give the student the opportunity to deal with the material independently.

Too much homework? Guide values ​​for orientation:

The requirements for how long children should do their homework every day differ from state to state. North Rhine-Westphalia introduced mandatory homework times in 2015: in 3rd and 4th grades they have to be completed in 45 minutes, in grades 5 to 7 in 60 minutes.

Peter Silbernagel, director of studies at the Goethe-Gymnasium in Stolberg and chairman of the Association of Philologists in North Rhine-Westphalia, says: “You shouldn't approach your homework by counting the minutes. If homework should also include a chance for the individual, then you also have to give the slower the opportunity to give more time and vice versa. "

For more independence when studying and doing homework:

6. scoyo parents' evening: child doesn't want to do homework - what to do?

1. Try to take a deep breath. You are absolutely not alone.

© Nina MassekNina Massek (blogger and book author): The parent who sits and helps at home is always the bad cop. Homework just has to be done, that's how I know it. This is where this stress arises. I notice that my son is stuck with an English presentation and then I just tell him the sentence in English. Of course, this doesn't make any educational sense at all.

I would like the teachers to give us parents more advice on how we can help or what not to do. I find it hard to find that balance as a mother: what is laissez-faire, what is too much control?

I think homework is an extension of the fear that plagues many parents these days:

Now, in the fourth grade, we had the high school recommendation hysteria. Parents really want the next ticket: yes, my child can go to high school, yes, now it has passed the Abitur ...! There is a lot of serenity. I think that's a shame.

© scoyo

I would like to find more serenity. I try to get out of there, out of too much hysteria. Anyway, I want that too best education for my child get out. That is not always easy.

Peter Silbernagel:Parents cannot have this so-called serenity either. Because they cheer. Not only with homework, but also before class work. Unless the parents are a long way apart, but I don't think that's the norm. On the one hand, if parents do not want to do away with homework, then they do so out of the knowledge that they want the best for the children. You should learn something. Ideally, they should also achieve the status, as it is so nicely called, that we parents have achieved up to now.

But parents have to do that too bear with the children doing their homework on their ownOtherwise the homework makes no sense as a control, a review, a feedback for yourself.

2. Accept that homework can not always be fun

© Peter Silbernagel Peter Silbernagel: It is an illusion to believe that everyone learns from enthusiasm at any point in time, on any topic, in any phase of life.

There can also be motivation, there can be impetus, there can also be feedback that one has problems and difficulties, only it has to be talked about. Both with the parents and with the teachers.

The dawdling, the delay, the excuses, also inventing, certainly something that is also part of homework.

3. Take child seriously, acknowledge effort

Peter Silbernagel: I think it makes a lot of difference when parents value the willingness to deal with homework - even in situations where children reach their limits and “suffer” to a certain extent. When the parents support, not in the sense that they do their homework, but that they notice that you are trying, that you are trying hard, that you are kneeling down on something, that is extremely valuable for the children.

© Tonia von Gunten Tonia von Guten (parent and adult coach, author): Everyone has different limits. Parents should listen and talk to the child: “I notice that it seems like a lot for you.” Perhaps the child then says: “Yeah, that's okay, today it was a lot.” And then the parents can say: “Okay. Thank you for doing it anyway. ”Sometimes that's enough. You don't always have to pull out all the stops and change the whole system.

And learning works when the motivation comes from within, but of course also when the relationship is right. When a Child notices: "I'm ok the way I am, I have mistakes, maybe not so good at it, but I have to go through it now ”, then it does its homework much sooner than when it gets the feeling:“ I can't do it. And I can't be honest about it either. "

Armin Himmelrath (freelance education and science journalist as well as founder and co-owner of the Cologne Media Office): Learning works when there is appreciation. Of course, parents should appreciate what the child is doing. But this would be even more important on the part of the person responsible for the task, namely the teacher.

4. Hand over responsibility for homework to the child

Tonia von Gunten: Dear parents, give back the responsibility! We parents can learn this by saying, “Hey, are you okay? Are you trying that alone? ”And then we have to endure when the child throws himself on the floor and says“ I can see that you are suffering. ”Yes, and I suffer too. But you learn that you survive this, that in that sense it isn't bad. Yes it will bad if I make a big deal out of it and do homework for the child. I don't achieve anything with it. Parents mean well. They think that they are helping their child. But what does the child learn from it? 'I can not. Mama does it better. ' or 'I can only get further in my life with help.' And there must be absolutely no mistakes, and neither are deficits. So you get the opposite.

© Armin HimmelrathArmin Himmelrath: In almost every class, one or two mothers write the homework for the children and of course put the child and the teacher in an impossible situation. The child is asked by the teacher: "And have you done the homework?" It must lie. And if the teacher asks again, it turns out that mom has written her homework. I think that's fatal from the parents' side. However, it is also a bad situation that in this case the school evidently gives the impression that homework has to be done, regardless of the conditions, that it is no longer a matter of testing your own limits.

The parents are of course afraid, I know that from myself, too. I want to get the best educational opportunities for my child. As a parent you can quickly say "Yes, then I'll help a little more" to make sure that it doesn't fail because of that.

Parents question: My child is on the verge of transfer. It has to do its homework to make it through the year. But it refuses. What should I do?

Peter Silbernagel: Especially with increasing age, children want to experience a limit at some point. And I think it's difficult for parents to get through. They will first try to make the child understand on a rational level: "If you try harder, then you can do the transfer." But if the child does not want to, there are probably other reasons as well. Perhaps this has to do with the parents' career ideas, other problems at school or with the family environment.

Nina Massek: I would also try to find out what lies deeper there. But I think if it has come this far, it should be "Repeat / stay seated" take away the specter. As a mother, I would just let the experience go and try to catch the child. No matter what the hell, doing the kid's homework is bullshit.

Armin Himmelrath: My son is also learning less than I would like. But at some point you also have to say: Ok, this is your life, your responsibility - especially with a 17 or 18 year old. But I can do this at an earlier stage in stages. Because even a 10-year-old already has responsibility for what she does (not as much as an 18-year-old, of course.). As a parent you are relatively helpless. You can admit that in front of the child and say: “There are things that I cannot regulate for you. And if it is important for you to get ahead in school, then you have to get down to business. "

Tonia von Gunten: I would try that To strengthen the child's self-esteemby saying you're just fine with us. You are our son, our daughter, no matter how wrong it goes. And it is part of this in your life that you may not be able to do it now.

5. Create good framework conditions

Peter Silbernagel: Parents' help should focus on the framework conditions: That the children can withdraw, that they have a room where they can sometimes can work undisturbed. That the children also have certain times when they are not disturbed. Parents can see to that, but not to do math homework now. They cannot do vocabulary learning for the children either.

Nina Massek: I blogged about homework today. One reader said that she does it according to the submarine principle: She is invisible somewhere in the kitchen, the child is in his room and if there is a problem, they call and then she shows up. She helps briefly and then goes back into hiding. I actually thought that was a good thing.

6. In an emergency: seek a conversation with the teacher

Peter Silbernagel: If homework continues to lead to stress in the family, parents should consider - also in a conversation with the teacher - whether this homework has been done correctly, whether the scope is correct, whether the homework is appealing at all.

Then I would try to get to the bottom of it. Because it cannot be a permanent condition that this permanently leads to unbearable conditions in the family every afternoon.

It is also important for children to be able to tell that they have had problems with their homework.

Parents should - I know, that sounds a bit pathetic now - encourage the children to say: "Please talk to the teacher and if you don't do it before class, do it after class or before class."

Parents question: My son Tjark (1st grade) gets along really well with math. But reading ... He's having trouble pulling the letters and syllables together. No matter what we do, he won't make it. He then starts crying and shuts down. We don't know what to do next.

Peter Silbernagel: The parents should speak to the teacher. After a few months of the school year, you will be able to take stock of what the primary school children should generally do after these six months.

Armin Himmelrath: That makes me incredibly angry. Such a teacher does not belong in this profession. I would bring out really big guns.

Peter Silbernagel: There are z. For example, in some federal states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, instead of two years in the first two classes, you can do three years. I expect more courage and moral courage from parents. You have to seize the opportunities and talk to the teachers.

Tonia von Gunten: And we have the options. We have internet, we have telephones, we can go to schools. We should use that. And be honest, get personal. And say: “I see that. How do you perceive that? How do you like that, child? ”And sometimes that's enough, yourself just sit down at a table, without experts, without psychologists. There is often a solution or an improvement when the child notices that there are people who see you.

Nina Massek: I can confirm that from practice. My son had problems with arithmetic in the beginning. We looked for a conversation, went through the school therapy service and received a therapeutic offer. We could never have managed the dyscalculia alone. That would have ended in howling and gnashing of teeth. Parents don't have to do that. Not at all.

7. If necessary, choose a school without homework.

→ More on this: Schools without homework - an overview