How to Get Homework Done Without Tears

“I hate writing!” your first grader wails. Homework time only started minutes ago and your child is already losing it.

If your child’s homework routine regularly involves tears, you’re not alone. Most children hate homework. Even if your child only has to complete a few short assignments, it can feel like torture to convince them to complete the homework.

So, how can you break the cycle? It is possible to get homework done and without tears. You’ll just need to make sure you set yourself and your child up for success. Here are the best strategies to get past the tears and make homework time bearable:

Be Consistent

If you’re child is resisting doing homework and puts you through a power struggle each day, you’ll need to be consistent. Rather than giving in or being unpredictable, set a routine and stick to it! Here are some pointers:

  • Pick a Time

Have your child complete their homework at the same time every day. This predictability will eliminate some of the power struggle, as long as you enforce it consistently. Your child will come to expect that every day before dinner, they do their homework. Choose a time that works for your family. It’s often best to avoid waiting until too close to bedtime or forcing your child to dig in right after school. Give your child some time to relax and play both before and after homework time.

Can’t even get started? If your child really struggles, try setting a 5 minute timer and encourage your child to work for just 5 minutes. Add 30 seconds to the clock every few days until your child works up to a grade appropriate amount of time to spend on homework each day. Cheer your child every step of the way!

  • Pick a Place

Use the same place every day for homework. Even the kitchen table is ok as long as you have an easily accessible space to store supplies nearby.

Don’t Hover, But Be Available

Most children require some supervision to get their homework done. However, being too invasive can frustrate your child. Have you ever been frustrated by a boss looking over your shoulder every 2 minutes? It sure is annoying, and your child feels the same way. Also, teachers often expect children to do their homework on their own and use it as a measure of your child’s comprehension.

So, you have to achieve a happy medium between supervision and allowing independence. Try sitting down closeby your child to sort through the mail, pay bills or read a book. This way, you’re available for help or clarification, but also allow your child to do the work mostly on their own.

Seek Professional Assistance

If your child really struggles to concentrate or is consistently in tears over a particular subject, your child might need some professional support. Get your child evaluated for learning or attention disorders or speak with your child’s teacher. Therapy, tutors, such as those offered through UrbanCircle, and extra classroom support can help your child succeed. A tutor can also be very helpful for eliminating that power struggle dynamic with your child.


Homework offers to help your child make gains academically, but there is such a thing as too much homework. The 10 minutes per grade level is a good rule of thumb that’s supported by many experts. This rule states that students should do about 10 minutes per grade level of homework each day, so first graders might do 10 minutes of homework while second graders should do no more than 20 minutes.

Advocate for your child if you feel their teacher is assigning too much.

By implementing these strategies, you can steer clear of tears at homework time. While you’re at it, you’ll teach your child excellent organizational skills that will serve them throughout their academic life.

Do you have a great homework strategy? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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