Homework Arguments Stressing You Out? Here is a CALM Approach to Managing Homework


Welcome back to our CALM Parenting Series.

To review, CALM stands for:
C: Create Peace Inside and Out
A: Allow for Authentic Success
L: Let Go of Shoulds and Shame
M: Make Strides for Independence

So how does CALM work with homework?

The truth is, most homework struggles are due to your child’s anxiety
about their ability to complete it and do it correctly.
And, if we are honest, parents can make this situation worse when they
try to organize, micromanage and control homework for their child.

So here are the 4 CALM ways you can eliminate homework struggles in your family.

1 C-Create Peace Inside and Out. In the big scheme of life, homework
is a blip on the screen. Unless it’s a major project or paper, teachers
barely look at homework and are mostly checking to see if their
students understand the material. So, put your child’s mind at ease
and don’t stress out over their homework for them. Create peace by
minimizing your own anxiety. To create peace on the outside, give your
child a structured, well lit, organized space to do their homework.
They should have a desk to call their own, even if they do homework in
the kitchen or dining room. Knowing where all your papers go and where
to find school supplies gives your child peace inside and out.

2. A-Allow for Authentic Success. Your child’s homework is a contract
between your child and their teachers. Nowhere does homework
explicitly involve parents. This is because the teacher is using
homework to assess your child’s understanding of what they are being
taught. If you swoop in and correct the homework, the teacher has no
clue if your kid gets it or not. So you need to allow your child’s
homework to be authentic. Let them do it on their own. If they skip
steps, get things wrong or don’t do it at all, that gives the teacher
information they need. If it impacts their grades, so be it. No one
learns to be successful before they learn what it feels like to fail.
A low homework grade in 5th grade has no impact on your child’s
future, other than to teach them the importance of doing work
assigned. So allow for authentic success and failure and stop
micromanaging homework. You will see the arguments in your home drop
by at least 50%.

3. Let Go of Shoulds and Shame. Your child should do homework. If he
chooses not to, shaming him isn’t going to motivate him to do it. Let
it go. Let them be responsible for their work. If you stop nagging and
shaming and stressing about your child’s work, you will see them start
to own their responsibility much more seriously.

4.Make Strides Toward Independence: Homework is a wonderful way to
give your child space to become more independent. When you trust them
to take ownership, be responsible and do their best on their own, you
will see them grow up right before your eyes. When parents try to take
over homework, kids are made to feel incompetent and dependent.  So
let your child struggle a bit with the organization, homework completion
and passing it in. If they miss the mark, brainstorm solutions with
them rather than dictate your expectations. Children are naturally
driven toward success and independence, so give them the space to
struggle a bit and figure things out. It’s great practice for future

The bottom line is, homework can be CALM (or calm-er) if you allow
your child to manage it on their own. Create space for them to
struggle, fail and ask for help. Manage your own anxiety to give them
this space. Brainstorm solutions with them if necessary, but give them
ownership of this important task of emerging independence.