How To Create A Homework Reward System

mom and daughter with homework
Together You Can Find A Way To Get It Done. :JGI/Jamie Grill

Okay, Have you accepted that your child or teen just doesn't want to do their homework? Good. That means you are ready to do something about it.

You have probably already figured out that your kid isn't interested in working hard for something when they don't really feel like there is a reward in it. It makes sense, in a way. The main reason homework is given out is to reinforce the new learning skills that are being taught during the school day.

After a day of learning new material, it is hard to be excited about going home just to face that sense of frustration at doing something new, or something repetitive, or something hard or even "boring." The real, intrinsic rewards for doing all of this work are things that come in the distant future or can only be felt once a level of achievement is completed.

What Is A Homework Reward System?

A homework reward system is an extrinsic reward system designed to help motivate your child to get into doing their homework for a period of time long enough that they learn to feel and appreciate what it is like to have their homework completed. The homework reward system is a plan that identifies what barriers your child has when it comes to completing their homework, and then gives your child a series of rewards for overcoming those barriers.

How To Make Your Homework Reward System

The first thing you need to do is identify exactly what steps in the homework completion process are not being completed.

 There are several steps involved in getting homework finished and turned in on time. This includes understanding that work was assigned, bringing the work home, doing the work, and turning it in. For a complete look at all the steps involved in successful homework completion, read this article.

After identifying the steps in the process that are not getting completed, sit down with your child and discuss ways that your child can get the troubling steps can be done. Be sure to only tackle two or three steps in the process at once. Most of the time there are only a few steps that are a problem, anyway.

If your kid is one of the few has several homework steps that are giving them trouble, don't despair! Just pick the top two or three and work on those steps for now. Focusing on just a few steps will keep your child from getting overwhelmed by trying to change too many habits all at once.

Now that you know what steps your kid needs to work on, give them a reason to get those steps done. You need to come up with rewards that your child receives for completing the homework steps they are working on. You need to have a small reward that is given every day or at least every week when the homework step is completed.  These small rewards can be things like getting to pick out the family dinner one evening or ten extra minutes of electronic media time.

To make getting the homework steps done every single day, you may also want to have a larger reward that your child is working towards. This could be something like a special outing or earning a new game or electronic device. This is something that it should take at least a month to earn.

You can have a paper rewards chart (like the thermometers that fundraisers use) or you can use a container that you fill with a bean or glass gem every time the homework steps are completed. You want to make sure that you have something physical that your child can see their progress toward earning the larger reward. Place it where they will see it when they work on homework. Make sure that it is achievable in about a months time.  You wouldn't want to give one small lentil to fill a one-gallon jar, for example. Come up with a system that takes about twenty-five to forty-five days to complete. Often that is the length of time it takes to develop the habit of regularly completing the homework step involved, leading to homework completion.

I suggest talking with your child throughout developing your homework reward system. Giving your child a say in developing the system helps your child to feel ownership in this process. This will create buy-in from your child rather than your child feeling like they are being forced to do something they don't want to do. The children themselves are often remarkably able to describe what would help them get past each troubling homework step once it has been identified for them. They also come up with rewards that are meaningful to them.

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