10 Tips for Getting Teens to do Their Homework

Teenagers studying in kitchen
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While some teens are very independent in getting their homework done, others need more structure. Your teen’s behavior and willingness to do his school work without prompting will show you how much help he needs. Establish healthy homework habits to set your teen up for success.

1. Set aside a designated homework time.

Give your teen a few minutes to unwind when he comes home from school, then implement homework time.

If your teen says he doesn’t have any homework, allow him to use the time reading a book or studying.

2. Create a homework space.

Many teens can’t handle doing their homework in their bedrooms. They get too distracted and don’t stay on track. Create a homework area that is quiet and free from distractions. Sometimes the kitchen table works well and other times, a desk in a separate office works best. If space is an issue, help your teen create a designated homework space in his room. Avoid using his bed for homework because using the same space to work and sleep can interfere with sleep later in the night.

3. Remove all electronics during homework time.

Don’t allow your teen to use his cell phone to send text messages while he’s doing his homework. It can be extremely distracting. If he needs to use the computer to do his assignments, consider installing parental controls that will block games and social media sites during homework times.

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4. Teach Your Teen Good Study Habits

Sometimes teens don’t really know what it means to have good study habits. They read a chapter and think they’re done for the night but they don’t take any notes or don’t know how to highlight key points. Teach your teen how to set himself up for success by studying in a way that will help him feel prepared for tests.

 5. Problem-Solve Homework Issues Together

When your teen is having homework problems, work on problem-solving together. Whether he forgets to bring his work home or he has no idea how to do the assignment, work on finding solutions to prevent further problems. Unfortunately, many teens avoid doing homework when they encounter a problem so it’s important to help solve problems together. Just make sure that you don't jump in and do the work for him.

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6. Stay Involved with Your Teen’s Education

Although it's important not to micromanage your teen’s school work, it is important to stay involved in your teen’s education. Attend parent teacher conferences and open houses. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers for clarification about your child’s grades or to see how your child is doing. Know what type of grades your child is receiving so you can intervene quickly to address a problem if your child’s grades have declined.

7. Keep an Eye Out for Frustration

If you see your teen getting frustrated while he’s doing his work, don’t jump in and immediately solve the problem.

But, do keep an eye out for potential problems. If he’s unable to cope with the frustration and solve the problem on his own, discuss strategies that could help him. Teach him how to cope with frustration and how to manage his anger without giving up.

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8. Identify Strategies to Get Help

If your teen is struggling with his work, help him identify strategies to get help. Inquire whether or not it would be helpful to stay after school and speak with a teacher. Sometimes teens are afraid to ask for help and teaching assertiveness skills can be helpful. At other times, there may be homework clubs or after school homework help available.

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9. Review Organization Techniques

Sometimes, teens waste a lot of time looking for lost assignments or trying to find out what work might be missing. Make sure your teen has some good organization techniques to help ensure he is able to keep track of his assignments.

10. Assist with Time Management

Many teens find themselves overscheduled. They play sports or participate in other after school activities and they don’t have enough time to get their homework done. Review your teen’s schedule and help your teen decide how to carve out enough time to ensure he’s able to give his school work enough attention.

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