Parents' Positive Attitude Can Help Kids Get Homework Done

Let children know they are loved regardless of math, language skills, researchers say

SATURDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- It's important for parents to have the right attitude when trying to get their children to do their homework, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that a child's attitude and motivation toward homework improves if parents take a positive, supportive attitude and emphasize the learning value, rather than focusing on completing the assignment or getting a higher grade.

The study of 135 fourth-graders and one of each child's parents was conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

When it comes to homework, parents should give their children some choices, such as when and where to do it, the study authors suggested.

"Parents can improve a sense of competence by allowing children to structure their own tasks and by giving the child the feeling that [he or she] is loved and admired no matter how successful he or she is in math or language," Dr. Idit Katz and colleagues reported in the study published in a recent issue of the journal Learning and Individual Differences.

And parents should examine their own motivations, attitudes and competence before trying to change a child's homework habits, the study authors pointed out in a university news release.

"Little formal research has been conducted about the home environment where homework is taking place, although it has been an integral part of education and is a controversial yet often used educational practice," the researchers wrote. "The home environment is just as important for instilling positive motivation as the school is."

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers parents a lesson in homework basics.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, news release, Aug. 31, 2011

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