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How To Motivate Kids To Do Their Homework

Updated on March 26, 2013

School Daze Craze

  • Whether you home-school or not, getting kids to buckle down and do their work at home can be very frustrating to parents. Realize it or not there is psychology for every child's reason for being unmotivated. If you can tap into the secret code lying within the child's personality you just may be able to create the environment that will enhance their ability to embrace the dreaded reality of homework and get it done without all the ruckus.

Identify your child's homework personality.

Procrastinator: Are they always coming up with excuses and distractions when doing their homework?

How to motivate:

  • Work right beside them.Whether you are paying bills, writing in your journal, reading a magazine or sorting laundry, stay beside them and you will find there will be much less excuses.
  • Give an incentive. If you schedule homework before fun-time they have something to anticipate so they are more apt to work much harder. Occasionally link a special award if you see your child is really trying and struggling, this will build more momentum.

Speed Demon : Does your child rush through their work often making careless mistakes?

How to slow them down?

  • Mom and Dad can play student. Your child can teach you the lesson as if they were the teacher. Memory retention if boosted 90% if you teach someone else what you are learning. Cool huh?
  • Allow multitasking. Speed demons are usually good at doing two things at once so if you let them listen to music or something they might enjoy themselves better won't feel so rushed to get it done. I guess it just takes a little of the boredom out of what already feels like an after school cloud over the sunshine.

Wanderer: Does your child sit down to do their work and then gets up real often ( bathroom, get a drink, snack awhile, watch video, go to the computer ect.)?

  • How to make your child stay put and get it over with. Establish a designated study area that has everything they need where they don't have to get up. A quiet place with a drink, snack, plenty lighting, sharpened pencils and all that good stuff. Sometimes children just get frustrated when they don't have everything they need to get it done so they just find what they think is better things to do with their time.
  • Set a timer. If your child still has trouble keeping their undivided attention on their work then set a timer and give them so long to do every few problems. Make a game out of it to keep it interesting.

Perfectionist : Some people have children that actually want everything too perfect. They spend way to much time picking their work and making sure everything is correct that they get frustrated that their homework is not getting done.

  • How to calm their nerves and lesson their expectations. Give a time limit! Perfectionists need to know when to quit and let go. " Can you finish in an hour?" A little pressure might make them see they need to get it done. Don't discourage their desire to get the answers right, but try to build their confidence to where if it's not all perfect that they won't fall apart.
  • Be a cheerleader parent. A perfectionist may need some bragging and encouraging. " You did awesome on your test." This will make them feel accepted, and when they fail teach them to bluff it off and try again.

I am a homeschooling mom so I have been studying my daughters personality ( I think she has more than one). As parents we sometimes just get so disgusted we lash out , belittle or compare them to other children. We are literally part of what shapes them to what they become in the great big world. We MUST get to know our child and accommodate their feelings, temperaments and needs with compassion, love, understanding and a strong, firm, sweet attitude that shows your the teacher,yet respects the fact that they are an aspiring intelligent pupil that works every day to reach for the stars.

Don't be discouraged these school days are like a flower in the spring, they are a season of life that builds what their tomorrow will become.


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    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 5 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Thanks for all the great comments!

    • profile image

      ginni saxena 6 years ago

      my daughter is 4 yr old . she has htaken interest in reading only .Its is very difficult to complete her written homework specially maths . i m worried how to create her interest in written homework

    • profile image

      BIKTMIA 7 years ago

      I like this article, incentives to keep kids interested work , like pizza dinners or a favorite food.

    • RichERich1175 profile image

      RichERich1175 7 years ago

      As a former school teacher, I cannot agree more with your thoughts and sentiments! You are so right and I cannot tell you the myriad numbers of students that fall in these pitfalls. Phenomenal article :) :)

    • profile image

      mary 7 years ago

      This is a great article. I'm tutoring an 8th grader who is speeds through his homework to just get it done and he makes careless mistakes or really doesn't take time to learn the material. What else can I do aside from having him play teacher, especially with homework? He just wants to get it done and out of the way.

    • profile image

      vs vishaal srirangam india 7 years ago

      my son never hesitates to do homework,

      he will enjoy to do.but any way ur tips are very useful thank u .give us more tips .

    • profile image

      DreamLiving 8 years ago

      It's important to ensure that the child does not have vision tracking or teaming issues. This causes much procrastination, particularly in boys. If the child didn't crawl, it might be wise to ensure there isn't a "midline" issue. This condition is often overlooked (intentionally) by pediatricians because no pill can be prescribed to "cure" it. Not every vision doctor is qualified to diagnose the midline deficiency.

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 9 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      grandma2000, I am sorry your grandson is going through this! Disfunctional families and divorce causes a great strain on children in school, often causing depression. Disipline at times is needed but in this case it looks like it's driving him deeper in anger. Since he thrives at school, he feels more support and balance, perhaps he would find more stability and security in his fathers home. He needs the male influence in his life at this age. Preteen years are vital for emotional needs to be fulfilled!

    • profile image

      grandma2000 9 years ago

      my grandson is not motivated at school. He is 12. His mum and dad split up when he was 3. His dad married again and my grandson lives with his mum and her partner. I feel that psychologically, he longs to be with his dad. he does see him and his new family every weekend but somehow I think this emotional need underlies his lack of intereswt in school. I try to encourage him in a positive way but his step mother thinks he should be punished until he learns to try harder. What do you think?

    • profile image

      sonia 9 years ago

      Very nice info, my 7 years old son, will always complain when I tell him it's time for homework. Oh I'm tired, I'm going to sleep and he starts whinning... Gosh! It's killing me. I'm gone try to have his desk filled with everything he needs and see if he gets him anywhere as well as us being the students. Great, thank you.

    • profile image

      justthinking 9 years ago

      I found a great homework helper on Amazon called Notebug Study Station. Homework was a nightmare. It's this little board with a word wall and number references. Now he has a "designed study area" on the kitchen table and we have a good routine. Just thought it might help other moms out there.

    • sciencewithme profile image

      sciencewithme 9 years ago

      Thanks for some great homework tips. Sometimes homework can be a real struggle in my home.

    • suewalker profile image

      suewalker 9 years ago from Ireland

      Hi SingingMommy,

      I enjoyed your hub, I have an 8 yr old son, turning 9 in Dec and a 7 yr old daughter - she gets straight down to homework as soon as she gets in from school and gets it finished fast - he on the other hand is the complete opposite. He is SO easily distracted - the wanderer describes him perfectly. Thanks for the tips - I appreciate all advise that can make getting the homework done easier.

    • profile image

      Cana 9 years ago

      Great post, useful information for motivating kids. I wrote a post on how to motivate kids as well recently.

    • betherickson profile image

      betherickson 9 years ago from Minnesota

      Definitely this will be a useful information for those moms teaching their little kids. :) Thumbs putting up this useful hub.

    • profile image

      Within 9 years ago

      Hi SingingMommy,

      Well done on this Hub....your experiences with homework and personality are great insights. The childs personality is all important when it comes to aspects of their lives such as homework, friends even how we as parents relate to them. As parents we need to understand our own personality first and then we can observe our kids. Well done again and I hope my Hub will help you with your kids as it has helped me with mine.

      All the best,


    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 9 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Knowing your own child better than anyone, think hard about emotional issues she may be facing that are non-school related. Sometimes there is an underlying something that is consuming the child's mind....... It may not be nothing extreme, some children thrive with motivation and praise. Sometimes you have to reward your child with little incentive's.

      When you noted she was fearful the thing that comes to mind is intimination. Children can be very cruel to their peers they can be very competitive and comparative. Especially easy learners sometimes brag about getting done first or fan their grades in your face. Some will say " I made an A+ what did you make?" The question can paralize your child's confidence even if they do make good grades. As parents, we have to build our childrens confidence with encouragement, not telling them they are the best ( they know), but highlighting their strengths and praising their efforts.

    • profile image

      Sara 9 years ago

      I am a first-grade teacher, but am struggling with my own first-grader and homework. What about the child who is afraid of the homework--the task seems too big, afraid that he/she will fail at the task, afraid to learn/practice a new/unfamiliar strategy? Not procrastinating, not in a power struggle with parent, not dealing with tasks that are beyond his/her capability, but actually afraid. Even if the homework is broken into small bits, what if the child is paralyzed and sits for hours in front of work that, once he/she decides to do it could have been done in less than five minutes?

    • Carletta profile image

      Carletta 9 years ago from Texas

      Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Oh Singing Mommy, I absolutely loved the way you wrote this in a unique way. Yes, you have been able to give great tips on how to handle different types of personality of kids. I am sure those who are teaching or tutoring could use this help. :-)

      best regards,


    • JerseyGirl profile image

      JerseyGirl 10 years ago from Jersey Shore


      My daughter will start kindergarten in September. I often wonder how we will do with her homework, and this is great info. that you have passed on.

      I already use the "Mommy plays student", and allow my daughter to teach me things. It could be writing, math, or even cooking! She retains so much more because she goes through the steps and EXPLAINS to me, how to do things.

      Thanks so much for sharing!