Helping Your Child Complete Boring Assignments

Mother helping her son with homework assignmentIt would be wonderful in life if every activity were interesting. But you and your child know that is not the case. Sometimes we have to work on boring tasks, because they are necessary for everyday life. These not only include general household chores but for many children, some homework assignments, as well.

There are two basic things you can do to help your child make a dull or boring homework task more enjoyable.

  1. Increase rewards your child will obtain after finishing a dull task. For example, what activities can your child look forward to? What snacks, games, or phone calls will your child make once this task is completed? Setting our sights on enjoyable activities once required tasks are done is a most effective form of self-motivation. Helping your child develop this capacity to delay or use a gratifying task as a reward for completing more mundane or boring tasks, will help your child become an effective, independent learner as well as efficient at completing homework.
  2. Try and change a boring task into something that is more interesting or even into a game. Encourage your child to be creative; play beat the clock or offer incentives for accurately completed work. Turn practice time for repetitive activities, such as learning to spell or master math facts into “television game shows.” We know of one family who modeled their elementary child’s spelling practice after the currently popular game show “Millionaire.” Spelling words were arranged from easiest to most difficult. At the beginning of the week four alternatives for each word was presented. The child then had to choose the correct spelling. He could poll a family member, use a 50/50, or ask directly for help.

Many parents assume that their children don’t like all kinds of homework. However, most children can describe their preferences. What is your child’s favorite and least favorite homework activity?

The Homework Preferences Questionnaire will help you and your children develop a better understanding of the kinds of homework they enjoy most and those assignments that may be more difficult to complete and will require additional incentive. We suggest that you and your child complete the questionnaire and discuss interests and preferences. This may also serve as good information for your child’s teacher.

Homework Preferences Questionnaire

Your Homework Style – Preferences

Check those you prefer: Give examples of preferences.
_____ Drill and practice
_____ Studying for tests
_____ Reports

Projects. What kinds do you like?/

1.____________________________________
2.____________________________________
3.____________________________________
4.____________________________________

Outside of classroom assignments. What kinds do you like?

1.____________________________________
2.____________________________________

Authors: Dr. Sam Goldstein and Dr. Sydney Zentall

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