Member’s question: Any tips to get in to a good homework routine? It’s hard to get my son to focus and he quickly goes into yuck whenever we try to help him.

Rachel’s response: Yes! This is another one where the Joint Problem Solving Strategy is helpful. Here’s a page in the Academy that goes more into what that is:…/the-joint…/ , and a video that goes with it:

But, very basically that means that
a.) you set a boundary (you have to practice)
b.) you ask her what practicing is like for HER (you have to listen here without jumping in… the goal is to let her release Yuck AND to find out why she doesn’t like it)
c.) you brainstorm solutions based on the fact that she has to practice AND everything she talked about in step b
d.) you come up with a plan together for how she’ll get through practicing
e.) you come up with a plan for how she wants you to handle it if she starts to push back
This plan offers both respect and control, which improves behavior a lot.

The other thing to keep in mind about homework is that it’s BORING and kids really do struggle with more boring tasks after being at school all day. When I was an Academic Coach I used to help kids with this all the time by teaching them to create engagement in their homework by engaging their brain or body.

Some ideas:
*Let him sit under the table (or in another interesting spot) to do his homework
*Have him walk around while he memorizes spelling words, etc.
*Have him do 5 math problems, then 5 jumping jacks, then 5 more math problems.
*Have him break his work down into smaller sections and have him to some sort of movement at each break
*If he’s trying to memorize something, have him make up pictures in his head that represent what he’s trying to memorize

I’d tell him that you get how AWFUL homework is and you’d like to help him by brainstorming ideas. The more involved he is with the ideas, the more likely he is to use them.