We all know how difficult it is to have the ‘homework conversation’ with your kids - let’s face it, it never goes well.
Many parents feel it’s their responsibility to ensure their kids complete their homework and this often ends in arguments and tension within the family. While kids cannot be forced to study or learn, there are things parents can do to help them to motivate themselves.
We asked staff in the Studiosity office for their pearls of wisdom on how to help kids establish positive study habits.
Keep the conversation friendly
“We try to keep the homework discussions informal and friendly. No pressure, no stress. If we can manage not to show any of our own anxiety about how our kids are going, they're less likely to get worked up about it themselves. We've tried having those "hard conversations" about homework. Kids just don't respond to heavy handed tactics. Neither do adults, come to think of it. No-one likes to be made to think they're not clever. So lots of little prompts go better than one big serious talk.” - Jack, Founder
Connect study to career paths
"My parents didn't push me overly hard to do homework, but they did spend a lot of time asking me about things that I enjoyed doing, and connecting those to future possible career paths that always sounded exciting. It was kind of left unsaid that if I really did want to be a pilot in the airforce (my dream at the time), doing well in maths and physics was going to be very helpful, and that allowed me to motivate myself to work hard at it. I didn't end up joining the airforce, but I did get into a great course at university and that gave me lots of options.” - Michael, CEO
Use tactics to help them motivate themselves
“My eldest child has always been quite sensitive to others’ opinions, so my tactics for motivating him tend to revolve around heaping praise and giving really specific feedback on a piece of work. He’s not a self-starter, so he’s always needed us to provide structure and routine to make him focus – and over time the habits are becoming second nature to him and he’s making steady improvements. My youngest child, on the other hand, is fiercely competitive and argumentative. Imposing structure on him is normally pretty fraught – if he doesn’t want to do something, we just end up in a virtual tug-of-war. So instead, I find ways to tap into his innate competitiveness and set him challenges to rise to.” - Caro, Director of Consumer Marketing
“A strategy I use is to disguise homework as fun and to link it to something they’re already motivated about. So if they love Pokemon, and have a handwriting task, then we do a handwriting task about Pokemon. If need to write a descriptive narrative then we might make a WANTED poster for some favorite character and have to describe the character.” - Suzanne, wife of Rob, Software Engineering
“(When I was a student) I got into tea, and would slowly drink cups of random teas, and would pause to record which ones I liked, and which ones I didn't. By the end of my HSC, I had drunk over 100 different kinds of tea, and had found my favorite: Russian Caravan. By this point I had associated the flavor of tea with studying, and simply sitting at my desk at school and drinking tea from a thermos brought back memories of studying, and with it, memories of my textbook and notes.” - Alex, Director of Statistical Analysis
Don’t be afraid to seek help from a tutor or friend
“Year 11-12 was completely different and I struggled with a couple of subjects, chemistry in particular. I just couldn't get the concepts and there didn't seem to be options, through my teenage eyes, of where and how to get the 'right' support. I wasn't comfortable asking questions in class when everyone 'seemed' to get it, and the teacher wasn't approachable. My solution ended up being a private tutor. That helped tremendously. I got to spend all the time I needed to ask basic questions and work through examples.” - Rhandy, Director of Product
“Getting assistance from my parents would always end in 'I still don't get it!" or more often than not, tears. This was the same with my two sisters. I just stopped asking him. When I struggled, I took the initiative to find help via friends or private tutors. My parents knew they needed to stay out of it because I was very independent and conscientious.” - Chantelle, Director of Community Partnerships
Limit mobile and computer use
“My parents would encourage me to study by limiting my computer use: I could designate a few hours a week to be allowed to be on the computer, but outside of those hours, I was expecting to be studying.” - Alex, Director of Statistical Analysis
Start the conversation early
“We've been talking about homework with our kids since they were in the early years of primary school. Now two are in high school, when homework starts to matter. They're used to us asking about it, and offering to help, though more often than not they'd rather do it themselves. If you wait until your kids are teenagers to start asking about it, they might just slam the door on you.” - Jack, Founder
Do you have any good advice on how to establish successful study habits? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.