Your child may have one of the following attitudes about homework:
Homework is a learning experience: It's an opportunity to showcase hard work, to refine skills, and to learn new things.Children with this attitude realize that homework may be hard, but they see value in the work.
These are two distinctly different attitudes with very different consequences. The first focuses on difficulty. The second focuses on opportunity and growth. Which of these do you want to be the "tone" of homework in your household? And why is it important to consciously cultivate a productive and positive attitude?
Choosing your attitudes.Children develop attitudes about homework that play over and over in their heads like tapes. If we, as parents, don't make a conscious effort to convey productive and positive attitudes, children will absorb the negative beliefs of those around them.
So how do you counteract negative ideas about homework? Decide on two to four "homework mantras" to consistently convey to your kids. Every household can have their own set of mantras. Here are some examples:
- Homework is your opportunity to learn.
- Mistakes are good!
- Effort matters most.
Be a Broken Record.Once you've chosen your homework attitudes, you need to say them out loud. Over and over. It's easy to feel like you're just a walking cliché, but kids need to hear these messages loud and clear. They need to trust that you believe them, and they need time to internalize them.
It's just as important to engage your kids in conversations about these messages. When something goes wrong on a math assignment, try to remember to ask, "Is it okay that you made a mistake? Tell me why." Encouraging children to say the mantras for themselves is much more powerful than simply listening to you say them.
Modeling Matters.Actions really do speak louder than words. It's so important for us to model the attitudes we want our children to adopt. When our children earn a poor grade, getting upset or disappointed doesn't show them that mistakes are learning opportunities. Similarly, when dinner is overcooked or you get lost driving to a new destination, getting angry and berating yourself or your spouse won't communicate the positive sides of mistakes.
Homework time can be stressful for children, but it doesn't have to be. Reinforcing positive attitudes about homework early on can set the tone for a successful school year ahead!