Parenting is a power-play stage. As soon as you’re a parent, it feels as if your genes rearrange and all you want to do is to control. Parenting gives you power over a living being and as an opportunity not experienced by everyone else, we turn into these people who want their kids to be the perfect little beings we were not. But, who can blame us?
Once the parental instincts kick in, you want to help your kids in every little way because seeing them suffer is one of the most painful things you could live with. Therefore, it doesn’t catch us by surprise when we over-extend the help and care we offer our kids.
But, as we all know, we have to learn from our mistakes and as painful as it is, we have to make significant efforts not to do our kids’ homework for them even if their struggling. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy, and you may not know it, but you’re doing more than you should for your kids.
I don’t know about you but, wouldn’t you want your kids to be hardworking, independent, strong-willed and intelligent adults you know they could be? So, how do you control your power struggle? How do you make sure that you’re only helping them and not working out the hard math sums for them? With all the distractions in your child’s life and the expectations you have for them, how can you make your children independent of your help or make them conscious of their choices?
Below are the strategies you could employ to make your child an independent learner?
- Monitoring isn’t synonymous to correcting
Now, this is where the real power struggle lies. And, not just between you and your child but also the teachers, including the recently hired math tutor Scarborough.
You need to realize that teachers and tutors give kids homework to help them determine whether their students learned anything in class or not. Therefore, you might want to ignore the need to correct them – teachers can track the progress of their students only by seeing the mistakes they make.
At the same time, you need to teach your kids to know that they cannot be right all the time – even though you could be raising a perfectionist like yourself, let your child know that it’s okay not to get straight As all the time.
What if they are struggling and they need your help? If this happens, then, set a limit to how much help you can offer and then let them deal with the rest or even ask for help from their teachers.
Oh, did you know that it’s easier for kids to work through problems when they you don’t run to them when they ask for help?
- Give your child the freedom to create a homework routine
Even though we have it in us to set rules and schedules for our kids, you need to think about the impact of your structure on your child’s development and learning process.
So, yes, you know more than your child knows but, let him or her have a say in how, when, and where they complete their assignments. If your little one comes up with brilliant ideas that will make their homework manageable, take them on offer and evaluate it with them. You should, however, review their performance with time.
On the other hand, if the ideas are not forthcoming, give suggestions: do they prefer taking snacks before their homework, would they rather play before getting down to the books? Whichever their choices, let them write down what they have agreed on and then post their regimen as a reminder.
What if you have 3 or four kids? Don’t let that be a deterrent to this approach – just make sure that they don’t interfere with each other’s schedule and that everyone follows their routine.
While giving these rules, you can let every child know that they don’t get any screen time before they complete their homework. By establishing these rules, your kids will stick to the set routine, and they could even study during the summer holidays. You are the coach, advice and organize.
- Communicate with their teachers
Parents and teachers should work as partners whose end goal is to make the student better. So, you should communicate with their teachers if you notice a problem and remember to do that civilly. With such coordinated efforts, a parent could get a lesson sheet from the teacher for use as a guide: we weren’t taught the way kids are taught today,
- Teach them time management
Besides teaching independence, homework is a tool that helps kids figure out how to make the most out of their time. While the time it takes to complete assignments increases as they go up a grade, let them understand that they have an X amount of time to complete their assignments. You could send a note to the teacher if your child is unable to complete their assignment within the assigned time.
- Your kids should be in charge
A tough one, no? To help your child become better, let them do their homework to the best of their ability and if they’re unable to solve some problems – don’t help out even if you can. Why? Teachers develop learning and memorizing strategies for kids, and when you bail them out, you only end up short-circuiting them. It’s okay for your child to miss a few hours of play time when they don’t finish their homework. They hate is, and they will learn from those experiences.
Even though taking a step back is tough, it will help your child become better.
- Take deep breathes
What happens when your child is overwhelmed and has a meltdown, do you help them? Yes. But, by letting them calm down (hugs, kisses, and reassurance that you can figure things out) and listening to them rank when they’re mad. Kids only need to feel heard.
If you’re the one on the verge of a meltdown, walk away, take a bath or splash water on your face. You need to calm down so, create a break and then try to figure out the problem when you’re okay.
Other strategies include determining how much you should be involved in considering your child’s age. Also, stop hovering during homework time, review your child’s good studying habits, determine your child’s sticking point, and take breaks.