How to make summer homework fun (and pay off) for kids

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Children doing homework over the summer are faced with a number of other competing interests and activities. Parents often ask how they can make summer homework fun. The key to making homework fun is to make it useful, so that your children’s homework efforts pay off. When kids know that they are accomplishing something worthwhile, they often feel like they are having fun.

To make summer homework fun and useful teach your child the skill of diligence!

Diligence is defined as 1. steady and careful application. 2. proper attention or care to tasks that are not particularly interesting or appealing

It’s very easy to be attentive to things we love, and it’s very hard to be attentive to things that are not appealing. The fact of the matter is that schools have many things that are not appealing. Maybe in the future this will change, but all of life has such tasks, and if a child learns to deal with them easily and expeditiously, his or her life is much better and easier.

Ways to develop diligence:

  1. Set up the periods of work so that they are short (within your child’s capabilities) and gradually extend them by 2-3 minutes so that by the end of the summer, your child is working easily for 10-15 minutes longer that s/he was at the start of the summer.
  2. Do not bargain with your child or try to cajole him/her into the work.
  3. Show exactly what the tasks are.
  4. Be available the entire time (if needed) but do not question or intervene, just be available if needed
  5. Give a short break (5 minutes) between different kinds of activities.
  6. Don’t preach (Avoid saying things like “see how easy it was”, or “if you had started right away, we would have been finished ….”)
  7. Give one or two days off a week-but try to do work 4-5 times a week.
  8. If your child is older and has longer, more complex assignments with real points of difficulty, try to make things more manageable. In other words, examine the chief goal and set things up so that the work moves as easily and smoothly as possible. For example, if child has a long book to read and s/he has problems reading, you can get the book on tape through a library, or can purchase the audio version. This will help move things along.

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