Next: Get-it-Done Tips... from Moms Like You
"My seven-year-old and I put all his assignments, practices, and after-school activities on a dry-erase board that we fill out together. After that, I'll remind him by asking, 'Is there anything due?' but it's his responsibility to keep track." --Holly Rigsby, Louisville, KY
"Our rule is that homework is done at a certain time and place -- in our case, at the kitchen table. That way, there's no room for 'Awww, Mom!' It's just something that happens. No big deal." --Blue Hill, Prosperity, SC
"I explain to my son that if he does not do his homework, we'll have to tell the teacher. He usually gets on board." --Kristin Fitch, Virginia Beach, VA
"We try to see the positive side of homework. We tell our daughter that it's helping her learn and get ahead." --Andrea Tomkins, Ottawa, Ontario
How to Unstick a Stuck Kid
When some kids hit a block, they're quick to decide that a particular subject is not their thing and stop trying. Your instinct, of course, is to say, "That's not true! If at first you don't succeed..." If your child is beyond a certain level of despair, however, that's not likely to work, says Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., the coauthor of several books, including Raising a Self-Disciplined Child.
"The probability that you're going to change that mind-set in that moment is low," he says. "The script is already all laid out: 'I can't.' 'Yes, you can. Just try.' 'I did try.'" Instead, consider coming at your child with empathy. Say something like this: "It sounds like when you look at this homework, you just feel overwhelmed. Nobody likes that. So what do you want to do?"
Goldstein says that, often, your child just wants to be heard, and she knows she has to do the work. If she proposes not doing it, remind her that's not a valid long-term choice, and tell her she can either give it a go by herself or with your help, since you'd be glad to give her a hand. Seeing that you get how she's feeling, she might involve you further. "Once she's asking you for your input, you can suggest, 'Maybe you can try it this different way,'" says Goldstein. Then, if you both do your best but still can't seem to move forward, jot a note to the teacher explaining that your child needs extra attention, so she is in the loop, too.