How to make your Foster Child do their Homework
As foster carers, it’s often easy to feel that it is your job to get the children you look after to do well in school. Naturally, you might get anxious about this responsibility and homework can often become the focus of that concern.
The battle around homework often becomes a battle over control. Your foster child starts fighting to have more control over the choices in their life, while you feel that your job as a foster parent is to be in control of things. So you both fight harder, which can result in an unhappy home.
The truth is, this happens with all children and parents. You alone cannot make a child care. Instead, you can focus on what helps their behaviour improve.
Over the years, we have talked to many foster parents who are at war with their foster children over homework- there are many creative ways kids rebel when it comes to homework! Your child might forget to do their homework, or do it sloppily or half-heartedly, or not study properly for a test. When this starts happening, it’s easy to start punishing, nagging and arguing. As a foster parent it can be even more difficult, as it is hard to know what authority you have over you foster child and what your boundaries are.
The hard truth is that you cannot make your foster children do anything, let alone homework. Instead, the idea is to set limits, respect their individual choices and help motivate them to motivate themselves.
Here’re a few quick tips.
Guide your Child – Don’t try to Control them
Many children are simply not motivated to do their work. A good idea is to ask yourself what worked in the past. Think about a time when your child has gotten homework done well and with no hassles. What was different them? Ask your child about it so that you can see what works and motivates them, instead of what motivates you.
Stop the nightly fights
The best way you can stop fighting with your kids over homework every night, is to stop fighting with them tonight. Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. Refuse to get pulled in by the school in the future. Stay focused on your job, which is to guide and love your child.
Take a breather
If you feel yourself getting reactive or frustrated, take a break from helping your child with homework. Take five or ten minutes to calm down, and let your foster child do the same if you feel an argument growing.
It’s a good idea to try and set the necessary structures in place. Set limits around homework time, so that your foster child is prepared every evening to have a set time to do their homework. Here’re 3 things you can try:
• Homework is done in a public area of your house.
• Homework is done at the same time each night.
• Take away screens and mobiles so your foster child can focus and have more time to concentrate on their work.
• On a Friday night, the weekend doesn’t begin until homework is done.
Remember, homework is not the be all and end all. Try and talk through it all with your child. Ask them why they don’t want to do it, what they enjoy at school and what they don’t, what they want to get out of school. By talking about their aspirations, you can motivate them to get there, including by doing homework!