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Homework Past Bedtime

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My nine-year-old daughter will not complete her homework until it is bedtime. Then she's up late rushing through her work. She tells me that I can not make her do her homework, and no matter how I approach the issue, she will purposely wait to do it. Her grades are good, but with a bit more dedication and less defiance she could be doing better.

A: Getting her homework done in the evening should be your daughter's responsibility. Making sure that she gets enough sleep is your responsibility. Children in elementary school need nine or ten hours of sleep a night. If they only get eight hours, they soon wind up sleep-deprived.

Give your daughter the responsibility for getting her homework done, but set a time when she must stop working on it to complete such pre-bedtime activities as bathing, visiting with the family, or hearing a story before lights are off. Do not back away from this time even if your daughter has not finished her work and begs for more time. Also, have her give you her school books at this time every evening so she will not continue doing homework and get to bed late. She can get up early to complete unfinished work or finish it at school.

Having a set time for completing her homework is going to teach your daughter how to take initiative and to organize her time. Praise her when she handles it well. There is no reason for a parent to constantly press a good student to do his or her homework. The battles will only become worse as your child gets older.

If your daughter's defiance extends to threatening not to do any homework, point out that if her grades are lower because of her failure to do homework, there will be consequences and leave it at that. You may find it very helpful to read Ending The Homework Hassle by John Rosemond. It offers solid advice on homework issues as well as preventing and solving other school performance problems.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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