What to Do when Children Refuse to Do Homework

Sometimes, parents don't know what to do when children refuse to do homework, and it can become a real challenge. What children need is motivation and not to feel that doing it is an obligation.
What to Do when Children Refuse to Do Homework
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When children refuse to do homework, it can become a real odyssey. Long faces, crying, lack of interest and distractions… All things that make us lose our patience.

Lack of motivation is something more and more common to see when children have to do their homework. They get bored and feel like it’s an obligation. That’s the reason why you should change their perspective and help them have fun while they learn.

Therefore, it’s important to come up with ideas that can help children feel motivated when doing their homework. In this article, we’ll tell you what to do when children don’t want to do their homework.

What to Do when Children Refuse to Do Homework

Some reasons why there are children who refuse to do homework

Children love to be praised and feel proud of themselves when they show their abilities. But, most of them don’t like to do homework, and this may be for three main reasons:

  • Laziness: Since they spend so many hours at school, once they get home, they’re tired and don’t feel like doing homework.
  • Lack of interest, which leads to lack of motivation: Like everybody does, when there’s something we don’t enjoy, we tend to postpone it. Then, we avoid doing it by replacing it with another activity we enjoy more.
  • Difficulty: Again, when we find something difficult to do, we tend to postpone it. In the case of children, they don’t feel like doing homework, especially when they find it complicated and don’t know how to do it.

When children refuse to do homework, what can you do?

Next, you’ll find some ideas you can implement when children refuse to do homework.

Let them rest and look at their schedule

It’s not a good idea to have an overloaded schedule. Besides doing their homework, children need time to play, run and enjoy their free time. This is why you need to let them rest before they start doing their homework.

Start a routine at home and follow that routine every day

Together you can choose the best time of day to do homework; but then, they also need to have some time to do what they want. You must respect this routine, in order to make a habit of it.

Take into account their emotional state when they refuse to do homework

If they’re irritated, annoyed or sad, you need to motivate them before starting doing homework. Because, if they do it in that state, they won’t be able to concentrate.

Talk to them about their lack of interest in doing homework

It might not just be laziness; they may have learning difficulties. Or maybe, they find a particular assignment difficult to do because they don’t understand it. This is why you need to talk to them and ask them if something is going on. You may be able to help them find a solution.

Be patient when children refuse to do homework

If children associate their homework with something negative, they’ll always refuse to do it. Thus, it’s better to be calm and patient to help them do their homework, and  don’t yell at them.

Don’t punish them

Punishments only make things worse because they end up associating them with homework. So, it’s better to reward them with something that isn’t material (more time to play, choose a movie, etc.) when they do their homework.

What to Do when Children Refuse to Do Homework

Don’t do their homework for them

Sometimes it’s complicated; when they see children spending an hour without making any progress, most parents end up grabbing their pencils and doing their homework.

However, you shouldn’t do it. First, because the teacher won’t know what their students can’t do. And, second, when we do homework for them, they trust everything is correct and don’t pay attention to the teacher’s corrections.

So, if you see that they’re stuck with an assignment, try to help them or tell them that they should ask the teacher to explain it to them again.

Help them understand the instructions for the assignments

Many times, they feel lost because they don’t understand the instructions for the assignments. So, you need to instruct them into what they have to do and how to do it. This way, it’ll become easier for them to do their homework.

In conclusion, you already know some ideas to put into practice when children refuse to do homework. As stated before, this may be frustrating for parents and children. So, you need to organize everything and do whatever you can to make them enjoy doing homework.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.