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Any suggestions to get my son to take more time on his homework?

My son is 5 and gets frustrated easily when doing his homework.  At his parent teacher conference, his teacher told me not to force him to finish and he gets frustrated to put it away for the time being.  

Lately his attention span is getting shorter and shorter and it seems to be getting worse.  Any suggestions to get him to take more time on his homework?  After about 5 minutes he gets frustrated and is done. 

Answers
User in Ephrata, PA
May 16, 2017

Coming from a teacher, that is horrible advice. If this is how it is when he is 5, imagine what it'll be like at 15. You could try a schedule, for example, after he comes home from school, and has a snack, goes to the bathroom, etc, he sits down and does his homework (before watching tv or going out to play) this way it's done and it doesn't take all night.

This is great advice growing up I struggled with with dyslexia my parents would do the same thing for me & we would also use fun trick for me to remember thing easier

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HI there! Have you had his eyes checked? It's pretty common for kids to get frustrated when doing school work, and to get easily distracted and sometimes, vision is the main issue. There's a lot more to vision then just "being able to see". Your child may be able to "see clearly" but there could be more issues. Often, children are falsly diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I myself have suffered from this when I was little up into adulthood. I now go to vision therapy to help. Here is a link to a website my eye doctor has created. There's more information there... (I realise this is located in a small town in kentucky, but there are centers nationwide that help with this issue.) Hope it helps :)   http://drbowersox.com/kids-vis...   

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Saga in Caldwell, ID
May 16, 2017

I am a teacher and have a graduate degree in child development and early education. And according to literally everything I learned and my 10 years of experience -- it is NOT appropriate to give a 5 year old child homework.  Period.  Their little brains and bodies are just not ready for this.  Also, study after study has shown that homework has absolutely NO discernible benefit to children until well into junior high school.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

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User in Mesa, AZ
May 16, 2017

When I was in elementary school, I did not want to do my homework! I would always sit at the table and end up have a bunch of doodles on the sides of my homework and not enough problem solving of the homework. Looking back at my experience, It was because I had fell behind on the classroom material. Maybe if I had a personal tutor it would have been different.

I also struggled with anxiety as a kid. If you asked me then, why I wasn't interested in homework, I wouldn't link it to anxiety because I didn't know what that was. But, I had a fear of being called on in class and getting the answers wrong although I was very social in class. I would experience a panic when my teacher would call on us randomly to read out loud. Little things that involved me being isolated from my classmates resulted in self doubt or lack of confidence. These feelings transferred to homework I would do at home... my mom would encourage me to do it but I would associate my mom with my teacher in those moments. I was so fearful that I didn't want to try. Because if I didn't try... then I couldn't fail. At least, that is how I saw it.

 

I hope I provided you with a different perspective on this; that was helpful.

Best of luck,

Brandy in Arizona    

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User in Aurora, IL
May 16, 2017

a reward system is always great, But nothing is better than making it fun with examples that are funny or that he can actually see and touch.

I absolutely agree!

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I sometimes have problems with my daughter not wanting to do her homework either; I usually tell her that if she can get all her homework done throughout the week without any issues then we will do something special on the weekend as a reward.  Like go out to her favorite restaurant for dinner, go to the park, anything that they like to do and will look forward to so that they will be motivated to get the homework done.

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Set up a reward system that gradually gets him to spend longer time on the homework.  Start with answering three questions, then having a snack...or playing catch outside for 5 minutes...as long as you set your phone timer and stay consistent.  Think of rewards that he will enjoy doing, and are healthy.  

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turn it into a game so they have fun

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User in Salinas, CA
May 16, 2017

You can try turning it into reward. For example, if he does all his homework without fussing for a week he gets to get a scoop of his favorite ice cream or candy.This was my mom's trick and it worked for me as a kid.

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This has been answered a thousand times, so you probably don't even need answers anymore, lol. But when I was in college it was SO hard to make myself sit and actually read the books, do the assignments, watch the videos, etc. I found a little trick on facebook or instagram, not sure, where you take your (in this case, your son's) favorite candy or snack and use it as little incentives. I would do it when reading and place a few skittles near each chapter. When I got to that chapter, I could eat the skittles. You could modify it and have ti in 5 or 10 minute intervals, or for each question answered, ect. 

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Praise him for doing five minutes! I had a ton of problems with this when I was a kid, and what really helped me was learning that doing five minutes or even one minute was still a good thing, and still a WHOLE lot better than doing nothing. Tell him he did a good job so far, he can take a little break if he wants, then do it for another five minutes. The key is time and patience. And if he needs rewards, even if it's something small like letting him play for a bit or watch tv, go ahead!

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User in Candia, NH
May 16, 2017

You could put him on a schedule. For the kids I nanny after school, she always gives me a hard time doing her homework. We come home. I make her a snack, she does a couple problems and does a five minute break and goes back to doing her work. I try and get her to do as much as I can until I see her getting frustrated and then give another five minute break.

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Coming up with a good schedule will provide security for him, one less anxiety regarding homework. Although it can vary somewhat with each child, I have found that it is generally a good idea to provide some sort of brief break after school ... snack time, outdoor time, a certain amount of time doing a preferred activity. If it end she up being just a snack time, make sure it's  an actual break, rather than eating snack during HW. Some kids, depending on their nature (are they particularly active, like the outdoors, etc), benefit most from going outside to get some energy out. Other kids, notso much. Gauge it depending of your child. Also, this helps during the school day, not  just after school. During the school day, it helps them to  know that they will definitely be able to count on (schedule) their after school break. That being said, limit the time and try to make it the same length of time daily.  Even if time doesn't permit anything other than a few minutes break, remember quality over quantity. Also, perhaps figure out a way to build positive associations reading HW time, without necessarily bribing them. These associations will follow them throughout the remainder of their schooling, so it's pretty important stuff. Hope this helps! 

 

Jessica 

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Get a tutor or someone to help him woth his work. He might be having trouble and teach him in a fun way or find a fun and helpful tutor tp help like me

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Schedule homework with quite a few breaks. Make sure he's getting plenty of exercise and sleep. Try to schedule some exercise during one of the breaks, cut down on sugar, reward him.

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Hi! I read this question and wanted to offer some advice. Lots of kids sometimes have a hard time focusing. This can be due to a disorder of some sort, like ADD or ADHD, which can be aided with medication. Also, kids are kids. No one likes homework. In the 1950's homework was only given out as punishment. Make sure your son (or any child) doesn't feel like they are being punished just for school work. Little prizes or positive reenforcement can work numbers. Snacks, stickers, half an hour on the telly; things like that can help keep your kid happy and focused  

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User in Hemet, CA
May 16, 2017

I had a problem with homework too when I was younger. I wanted my mom to encourage me when I got a question right, even if she helped me a lot; it gave me confidence. Reassure him and be patient. If that doesn't work, let him work for 10 minutes, then let him take 5 minutes off and continue, that way he doesn't get overwhelmed or frustrated.  

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User in Cerritos, CA
May 16, 2017

Allow him to take frequent breaks and always have an award system. For example, allow him to work for just 10 minutes and then reward him with a 5 minute break and maybe a snack. Keep repeating that process until he has completed his work and when it's completed give him a bigger reward such as allowing him to watch his favorite movie or going outside to play. Rewards, frequent breaks, and constant praise are a must!

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User in Cullman, AL
May 16, 2017

My child had the same problem and we turned it into fun time. We would sing and praise when she would get it right. She got so excited about us doing it together. I hope this helps

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User in Noel, MO
May 16, 2017

After only 5 minutes would be a concern. Has his teacher mentioned in problems during class? If there are not any then it is a home issue and you may want to look at making it a more positive experience. As someone else stated have a schedule and save the fun stuff for after it is done. In life we all have to do things we do not enjoy. It is something all children have to learn to be successful.

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What I would do, me myself being a teenager, would do like a 10/5 rule where ten minutes of work is a 5 minute break. It usually helps kids to work towards hat break where they can take a breath and relax before starting again. 

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Talk to his teachers and see what they think. Or take him to a doctor.

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Hi! Working with little ones on homework is a big task. They may not be used to a structured focused time, and can view the task of doing their homework as a chore. The first thing I would do is to make sure that your son knows how to do the homework given. I know this might seem like a common sense sort of thing, but most children become overly frustrated and even angry when they don't understand what is being asked. You can also try and set a timer for homework time or have "play" breaks during. If you go with any of these options make sure to set a minimum amount of work you think they can complete before giving a break. You can also try positive reinforcement with a sticker chart or something of the kind. Hope this helps!

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User in Oakley, CA
May 16, 2017

Don't pressure him, think of a reward to work towards. Slowly work on homework in small amounts of time with minimal distractions.

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You should try using something small like MM's and once he gets to a certain point then he gets a few like a reward. I have found this has helped me with the kids i've watched.

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User in Norfolk, VA
May 16, 2017

He may need to see a doctor. He might have ADHD or even ADD. This is very common in children with these disorders. The doctor might recommend medicine that will help him focus.

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He shouldn't be doing homework yet.He should be a playful happy little boy and enjoy being a kid. Maybe with a few minor jobs around the house to make himself proud.

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I used to work with a client with severe autism who felt this way about everything I wanted to teach! Something that worked well for me was a visual reward system. It can be as simple as putting stickers on a whiteboard, with a promise of something they want when they earn a certain number of stickers (keep it attainable, that's important). It's a great way to keep them from simply dragging on their homework or just wasting time (if you only set a time limit of "at least 10 minutes" for example). Plus, I think it's a great way to teach a young child that if they want something, they first need to work for it, nothing is entitled to them. (Productive members of society, hooray!) I've enjoyed looking at everyone else's suggestions as well. 

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He's 5, he's still young. Find the time to sit down with him and sit with him while he does it. Maybe hold some snacks hostage and give him some every time he completes a problem. He's young enough that he's gonna need homework help anyway so just help him get it done

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