Your child’s homework… How much help should you give? And how do you encourage them to do it?
These are all questions that parents of school age children may face. And part of being a parent sometimes involves helping with homework. Some parents love it and become thoroughly involved to the point of taking over. While at the other end, you have the parents who prefer to leave their children to get on with it themselves. Which side are you on?
Or are you one of those parents that’s somewhere in the middle? A parent who obviously wants their children to do well in school, but are not sure how much help you should be giving the kids. Do you only help if you’re asked and leave them to try and get on with it themselves? Or do you guide your children in the right direction but leave them to find the final answers?
The majority of people think that helping children with their homework is actually a good idea. Indeed, some parents think that it is their duty. On the other hand, some parents feel that it is down to the school to make sure that the child’s work is fully done. These parents often hold the belief that actually helping with homework is a bad idea, as it does not help the children to learn.
However it can be viewed that helping your children with their homework is a nice way to be involved in what they are doing in school. It can also keep you up to date with what they are learning. Finally, it can indicate that you are showing an interest in them, which can build their confidence and also strengthen your relationship with them. What side of the fence are you on when it comes to helping with homework?
Here’s what some parents think…
YouGov conducted a poll to see how parents across the UK feel. There was a very mixed reaction…
“Helping does not mean doing it for them. But how else are kids to learn if they don’t understand something, but by asking and being taught, or looking it up?” Phil, Essex
“A child needs to take the responsibility of doing their own work. If parents do too much it stops the child learning some self-reliance and responsibility and keeps them dependent. If a child is struggling it is fine for a parent to make suggestions of avenues the child can try, but if the parent does too much it masks the fact the child is struggling and gives teachers a false impression of what the child can do.” Anonymous.
“Showing children that you are interested in their school work gives them encouragement and confidence to work hard. Helping them with homework does not mean doing it for them – just giving them guidance and support and that’s what parents are for!” Kate, Chester
“They often need to be chased to get the homework done. Sometimes they don’t quite understand what is wanted. I feel it is fine to give some assistance with sorting out how to approach problems. Have to be careful though. It is too easy to just give them the answer” Andy G, Somerset
What should you do?
Ultimately, this is a choice for yourself as a parent. Perhaps you could talk to your child and see what they think about it? For all you know they may want to try their homework themselves and only come to you when they are struggling. Or maybe they like spending time with you working on homework and they find it helpful.
After having a conversation, maybe you can come to a compromise on how they tackle their homework in the future. This would both help them and yourself if you both knew what to expect of each other when it comes to homework.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on how you help your children with homework. Please share your advice and opinions in the comments below or with us on Facebook.
If there are any other problems your family is having, then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.