How to encourage my children to read or do their homework

By Madhurie Singh, July 08, 2013

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It’s half past 1:00. And I am typing away like a bat with only my keyboard illuminated.

But this was important and I am sure will be important to all parents.

I hate people who are dependent on me or on anyone for any of their daily chores. Except for the darling maid, I can proudly say I am not dependent on anyone for anything. So this being independent is what I would love to see in my children too.

I think I would credit this great attitude to my parents and their circumstances. In those days there were 3-4-5 kids who needed to share and live together within the resources provided. No complaints or regrets.

Since the time was a scare commodity for the dads to be earning the bread for the large families, many a times joint or with the responsibilities of sending a part of the salary to the other dependents back in the native places. Moms would be equally super busy with their cooking, cleaning and raising kids more like robots. Moms not just had to cook but also ensure their raw materials were bought in bulk, cleaned and stored as in those days packed atta or rice or daals were only heard of in the pardes.

Now with so many jobs that have been replaced by one trip to any malls we cannot even fathom the amount of hard work our moms have done in their times along with raising us. Papads, masalas, pickles, laddoos, dalias that we pick so easily were all made at home. So obviously with all these jobs that moms did  along with the many out of the kitchen chores like washing clothes, drying, ironing and entertaining the numerous relatives, taking homework was definitely not at leisure.

I do remember mom sitting with us, taking up everyones’ spellings and tables etc, but proudly tells everyone that we started to study on our own from class 3!

Wow ! I do not much recall if it was easy or difficult, but I do remember we were in Calcutta and my teachers were always happy with me, even though I did my own homeworks.  The responsibility to study on my own, was mostly due to need. There was homework to be done. Either I did it or just be ready to by scolded by the teacher was my own choice. I guess, I preferred to be praised than scolded.

So I tried the same thing with my sons. A few things that have gradually made my sons more or less responsible for their studies:

  1. I do check their dairies everyday and sign them as it helps me understand what is happening in their classes. This ensures to them that if I am so regular in checking their dairies, they better be regular too. Example works
  2. If anything is not clear due to shabby handwriting, they have to write it 5-10 times. No excuse. Punishment works.
  3. Timing is very important. Everyday, we sit at the same time all together to do our home-works. My presence and supervision helps their confidence and gives them a sense of security. Regularity works.
  4. No TV, no phone calls taken at this time. My laptop too is shut down. Occasionally tab comes alive only to check something for the sake of hw or understanding a topic better. No disturbance works.
  5. Each answer is framed by them even if they struggle hard at times, I do not help unless needed.  It’s difficult to control the urge to help but I am trying always. Self attempt works.
  6. If they do not do the homework, they HAVE to watch TV and will not get to read their story books or play on computer. The reason TV is a punishment in my house as I watch History, Discovery Sc or Fox crime and they do not really find these entertaining. SO they would rather read their story books which we now buy every month in bulk. It was not easy but we took years to shift from toys to books.  Giving  punishment choice works.
  7. We have reading competition in our house as to who can read fastest, best etc. Reward is always lunch at Barbeque Nation or a few more books. Reward works.
  8. If they do not do or complete their HW, I do not help them in completing as its not my revision of the chapters that the HW was suppose to do. Yes! I made it very clear to them the need to do homework is to revise what was done in the class. So they are also not allowed to complete their HW in the school. Not a rule made by the school, but by me. Explanation Works.
  9. In case they forget to tell me about a project work, its their problem. They will have to face the teachers on their own. It happened only ones for each of my sons, and  now they remind me of the materials needed for the projects the moment they are back from the school. Sternness works.
  10. At times even I forget, but even that is not my fault. It is their responsibility to remind me as its their home work not mine. Any argument that happens due to my forgetfulness also is not in their favor. Just like they expect me to keep tab of their projects and HWs, would they start keeping tab of my work? If they agree to this argument, they have to remind me to wake them up, pack their breakfast, cook lunch, keep their uniforms ready etc etc. Just a 10 minutes attempt of swapping places is enough for them to realize how little they have to remember in comparison to me. Empathy works
  11. But all said and done, I have to check everyday, make them sit at the same time, be there with them till they finish their work, clear their doubts and answer all questions repeatedly each day to be able to proudly write this post tonight. Diligence works
  12. Had a chat with my doc who was explaining to me how his mom would come back from the clinic at 10pm, make him study till 12pm, wake him at 5am and again sit with him for the studies till 6am before he left for the school. That regular routine developed into habit which helped me in his academics. And that I reminded him of his mom! 🙂 Encouragement works.
  13. So surround yourself with people who encourage you as the mom’s role is the toughest role on earth. Being positive works.

I am sure you all have your proven ways too to encourage your kids in making them do their homeworks. I would love to read them too. So do write your comments below. And must share this post on Facebooks or twitter right now.

Hello Madhurie Maam, truly loved ur article. and compared all WORKS that i follow with yours and believe me i felt i am going great. sometimes v moms feel are v dealing too strictly, but later realize that v r right, specially when v c that kids are implementing it in their life.thanks maam. Alokita

Hi Alokita, Kindly post your query in

Thank you Alokita. Yes we also sometimes feel if we are doing the right thing. But then I believe that we moms have very good intention hence nothing can go wrong.

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