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My Child Hates Kindergarten Homework
"My child refuses to do her kindergarten homework!"
During pick up time I heard a few parents discussing how their children hated kindergarten homework. As I waited for my daughter's class to end I silently thanked the universe for helping my child find joy while doing her kindergarten homework. I felt blessed my daughter wanted to do her homework and actually looked forward to homework time. The universe answered back later that afternoon with a resounding, "Ha-ha-ha." What changed in a matter of a few days? Instead of drawing pictures of her teacher and friends she was now expected to practice her writing. My daughter loves writing words, always has, but writing between the lines...well, that's a different story.
"I don't want to. Blah. Nooo...I don't want to!" My daughter repeated her new mantra while practicing her letters. Every now and then my daughter would say, " I don't want to go up to the sky, back to the ground, stop at the fence...I want to do it my way!" This continued for about ten minutes. Finally, my daughter dropped her pencil, pushed away her paper and pretended to fall asleep in her chair. I knew this was going to be a long year.
"Is it worth it?"
I hear many parents asking this same question. Although to some degree I feel kindergarten is the new second grade, I also acknowledge the fact school-age education has far surpassed my own personal experiences. Education takes place in a new arena and our children have to learn how to play the game early in life.
- Gives young children a sense of responsibility.
- Gives children the opportunity to practice time management skills.
- Young children are able to practice doing homework for more advanced tasks in the future.
- Young children begin to understand the value of learning tasks.
- Can build relationships between children and parents (caregivers).
- Homework helps keep families informed about class activities.
- Homework helps schools achieve their overall mission of improving student’s achievement. (Seven Steps To Homework Success: A Family Guide for Solving Common Homework Problems by Sydney S. Zentall, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.)
How To Make Homework Fun
“There’s a principle in psychology that states if you want somebody to like something they don’t like, you need to make all of the surrounding conditions as positive as you can.” - Sydney S. Zentall, Ph. D.
5 Ways To Make Homework Fun
- Promote The Positives- Begin homework by focusing on positive words. Incorporate silly songs, rhymes, simple games or objects around the house to inspire your child's motivation. In order to help my daughter write her letters I used simple phrases taught by her teacher, but I turned them into a song.
- Create A Peaceful Space- Create a "working" space. Prepare a small homework area with a table, chair and supplies. Allow your child to help prepare and decorate the area. If parents show respect for the task at hand then their children will value their "work" as well.
- Turn Off The Television- Focus on the homework games. Turn off the television, phones, Ipads, etc. Listen to classical music or other soothing sounds if it helps relax your child.
- Be Present- Make time to be there with your child. Your child needs to know you are there to answer questions and offer encouragement when needed. Designate time from your schedule to be an active participant.
- Do Not Wait Till The Last Minute- Kindergarten homework is usually designed to take about 15 minutes a day. If you save the daily assignments for the day before the homework is due then you set yourself, and your child, up for a night of stress. Practicing how to manage time is a very important aspect of kindergarten homework.
Other Useful Tips:
- Do not wait till your child is overly tired before beginning homework.
- Create a fun weekly homework chart.
- Take the "no" out of the equation. Instead say, "Great try. Try again. Great job. Let's practice together. You can do it."
- Take a break. Come back to the homework after a small snack or short story.
- Parents can take breaks too. If you start to feel frustrated, move to a different room, take a deep breath and come back when you're ready.
- Praise, praise, praise, praise. Celebrate your child's accomplishments. Post the homework on the refrigerator. Tell the grandparents. Take pictures. Make it special outside of homework time.
"I did it."
My daughter eventually completed her homework assignment. It was designed to only take ten minutes, but we ended up working on the homework for thirty minutes. However, by having fun and focusing on the positives my daughter now understands the "expectations of the games" and enjoys our time together. We even made a simple homework chart to validate her accomplishments. After our homework struggle my daughter said, "I did it. I did work just like you do. Not too bad."
How To Make Homework Fun
How To Build Fine-Motor Skills & Early Writing Skills
A young child builds fine-motor skills by actively exploring the environment. By encouraging your child to experiment with different mediums you are establishing early writing skills.
Activities To Increase Emergent Writing and Letter Recognition Skills
- Activities To Increase Emergent Writing and Letter Recognition Skills
You don't need expensive workbooks or flashcards to teach a child how to recognize the alphabet or learn how to write. You only need a creative mind, fun objects around the house, and a curious mind.