3 Tips for Getting Your Angry, Anxious Kid to Actually Do Their Homework

Here we are, a month into the new school year, and you're going through the homework struggle. Again.

You were hoping this year would be different. You worked so hard, collaborating with your child's teacher, and finally had a good system... by April. But now it seems like it's back tracked.

And it kind of feels hopeless. You wonder if your kid is every going to get their act together when it comes to doing their homework.

What do you do?

I encourage parents to have a conversation with their kids about why the homework isn’t happening. Are they stressed out about it? They wanted it to be perfect? Do they hate school or classmates or their teacher? Whatever is underneath the homework avoidance will inform your approach to it.

1. Set up a schedule.

For those angry and avoidant kids, make sure to give them a couple breaks during the homework. Set up a system where they do 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off until the homework is over.

2. Limit the time spent on homework.

For kids and teens who tend towards anxiety and perfectionism, you’ll also want to set limits, making sure that they don’t keep doing homework past a certain point in the night, and helping to train them that perfect is the enemy of good. Encourage them to approach essays as first drafts, but only allow for edits if there’s time. I’ll often find the perfectionist teens I work with don’t turn in any homework, because they feel it isn’t good enough.

3. Take a deep breath.

And for anxious or angry, make sure to build in relaxation throughout the process, taking pauses for deep breaths and ensuring that there something fun after the end of the homework to help them calm from any stress and get ready for bed - movie time, reading a story, etc.

When to get another opinion:

If doing homework is always a huge struggle, to the point where you and your child’s teachers aren’t sure what to do next, consider meeting with a therapist who specializes in school anxiety and anger management.

Is this ringing a bell? I specialize in child and adolescent anxiety, and know how those angry reactions can morph into school avoidance, perfectionism, and overwhelm - for your kids, and for you. Shoot me an email or give me a call to talk about child anxiety in St. Louis.

Compassionate Counseling St. Louis is located in Clayton, MO. I work with kids, teens, and college students throughout Clayton, Webster Groves, Brentwood, University City, Creve Couer, Town and Country, Des Peres, St. Louis City, Saint Louis County, and surrounding areas.