10 things that parents can do to help their creative child to finish their homework

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10 things that parents can do to help their child with dyslexia finish their homework

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Do you have a child who finds it hard to finish schoolwork like writing stories, reports and giving presentations? Do they start well but rarely finish? It’s tempting to think they’re lazy or don’t care. Maybe their teachers are starting to say that. But as a parent, you can see they do care and are trying hard. Something in your gut says they just don’t seem equipped to do the task. It’s a known issue for people with dyslexia. It’s also a common trait of highly creative people. If they don’t find a way to finish work, it can be destructive to their self-image and home life.

We’ve listed 10 things that a parent can do to help their child finish homework. These are things we came up with based on our experience and from our observations from other parents.

1. Set a goal when to finish the homework

Goal setting is probably one of the most important habits that your child should have. Especially with dyslexics. When you set a goal, you are committing yourself to see that goal come to fruition. That includes sacrifice, dedication, motivation, etc. Setting a goal is like making a choice. It’s like deciding what you want to end up with.

goal finish homework

When you do homework, you have to set a goal when you should finish then plan out what you’re going to do to achieve it. You can schedule your work by chunks with few minute breaks in the middle or do the work one time. 

Don’t set a date that is too close to the deadline. If you set a date to finish the homework 5 minutes before the deadline that might defeat the purpose of setting the goal in the first place. Now you are just back to panicking.

2. Set a reward for completion of a task – Find the right motivation

reward homework

Motivations are the moving force for everything that we do. As parents, we do everything for our children. All these sacrifices are worth it when we see them happy and well. 

For pre-teens to the adolescence, these motivations are not yet set properly. These are the times when they are still questioning; what is the point of doing all this? Does this homework really matter? Why do they have to go to school? These questions seem obvious to us but to them, it’s not.

There are two types of motivation; intrinsic motivation which refers to behaviour that is driven by internal rewards, and extrinsic which refers to behaviour that is driven by external rewards. You can provide both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation however intrinsic motivation develops overtime and largely based on their interests and what is naturally satisfying to them. Unfortunately, according to studies, most students find studying boring so they must be extrinsically stimulated into educational activities. 

Setting a reward for completion of homework is the best way to encourage them to finish. These rewards don’t have to be huge like buying a game console every time they finish homework. They can just be something like watching TV for an hour or having dessert after dinner. Just something they can enjoy after a hard day’s work. 

You can also increase intrinsic motivation by; providing them a challenge, feeding their curiosity, giving them a little bit of control, enhancing their cooperation and competition and lastly recognise their accomplishments. However, like all things, too much of these can lead to negative outcomes too.

3. Brainstorm everything that is needed for the homework

A creative mind can be cloudy sometimes. They mostly have a lot of ideas in their heads which makes it hard to focus on one thought at a time. That is why it is really important to brainstorm what you need for the homework.

brainstorm homework

Brainstorming alleviates the child from all the clutter in their heads so they can now focus on what to do next. Through brainstorming, you also get to see the landscape of the homework, what it really is and identify the steps needed to take to finish it. This is also the time to get all of the materials, handouts, date and time of the deadline, and other things needed for the homework.

Once you have all the things for the homework, you can now start to plan the steps you need to take for completing. For example, do you need to research this, or do you need to buy that, etc. 

One of the best ways to brainstorm is with the BulletMap. This method not only allows you to rank the ideas and thoughts from your child but you can also organise them into one map and see it all interrelate to the other ideas.

4. Develop effective study tips and strategies to finish the homework

study strategies homework

So, we established an achievable goal, set a reward for completion, then brainstormed all the things needed for the homework, now doing the homework itself. It is great to be always there for your child but at some point, you have to give them the opportunity to be independent and do the homework themselves. However, it’s hard to do that when you know they haven’t developed an effective study strategy yet.

The majority of dyslexics and creative thinkers get really stressed in the middle or at the near end of the task. You often left wondering why is that happening when they’ve started quite well. Working memory might be the cause of a lot of hurdles for them. Your child might need to take a break when this happens. Take their minds to focus on another thing just to refresh their head. 

There are tonnes of study strategies and tips out there but the trick is finding out what works for your child. Some students read their notes aloud. Others turn it into a comic strip. Others rewrite the whole notes so it’s easy to memorise them. Some do visualization and meditation. Again, the trick is to know what is best for your child. 

One of the best study strategies for dyslexics is the Bulletmap System. It’s a versatile system that has 7 different maps depending on your use for it. The BrainstormMap was just one map which is used to brainstorm ideas. You can click here to know more about the BulletMap System.

5. Identify and focus on their strengths

Dyslexia is not just about having difficulties with reading and writing. There’s a whole other list of positive traits that one may get with dyslexia. To know more about these superpowers you can check out the dyslexic advantage book by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide. They have made an extensive study about the advantages that come with having dyslexia.

strengths homework

Each of us has unique strengths and weaknesses that makeup who we are. Identifying your strengths helps you deal with life more easily. Knowing your strengths as a dyslexic can help you understand what are the things you can do easily and what are the things you need to take more time doing. Through this, you can delegate other tasks and choose to do the tasks you are good with or take this as a challenge to improve on the areas you lack as you are going through a more balanced skill set. 

When your dyslexic child knows their strengths, it makes them more confident in taking up the challenge of doing schoolwork, writing stories, conquering exam, giving presentations, etc. 

6. Build their self-belief

self belief homework

This is somewhat connected to the previous item. Being more confident in taking on a challenge. As a young child, if all they see every day are their weaknesses being highlighted day in and day out until they grow up they will develop low self-belief.

It is very crucial that our child doesn’t feel that way. They need to know that they can do anything. They need to know that they can finish school with flying colors. They can get to any university. They can finish any course that they please. 

It’s all about the mindset. They have to know they can do it even with dyslexia. But you can’t really do that so easily. Most kids in middle school and high school tend to listen more to what they think society says about them instead of their family.

One way of building their self-belief is through inspiration. Let them see that there are a lot of people who went through the same thing as them, made it through and even built a name for themselves. It would help a lot. 

7. Make it as fun as possible

Homework doesn’t have to be a nightmare or a mess. It’s not the end of the world if the child does not understand the material. Instead, take this time to instill values or good study habits that might help in completing his homework. Unleash your creativity in making their homework fun. This could be an opportunity to bond with your child as well.

fun homework

Have you ever heard of the Fun Theory? This was popularised by the Volkswagen campaign. It’s a simple theory that says if you want to get people to change their behaviour, make it fun and engaging. It really does work. 

One way to make it fun is to reverse role play. Let your child be the teacher and pretend to be the student. Pretend you don’t know how to answer the questions. Ask them to explain it to you. Ask them questions. 

Or try a game show concept. They get more points for answering questions and take out points when they get it wrong. 

8. Share Feedback

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Dyslexics need feedback. Once the homework is done, don’t forget to check it. Dyslexics tend to miss or skip important parts of the task. It wouldn’t hurt to check. Share what you like and what you don’t like in the homework. It’s important to recognise their hard work and congratulate them on finishing. Commend them on going through the process. Go through the Brainstorm again and see if there are steps you forgot to follow.

9. Support group

Family can be a great source of support. Mom and Dad can play a huge role in helping their child complete their homework. Whether motivating them through rewards or just encouraging them when frustrations start to kick in, having someone at their back is already a huge comfort. 

support group homework

Another support group that can help would be a community who goes through the same challenges. Having these kids with creative minds listen to each others’ struggles will make them feel that they are not alone. The best thing about this is that the child does not only have a support group but the parents as well.

10. Make sure the homework gets submitted

submit homework

The most important thing is to have it submitted otherwise it would’ve been for nothing. Some of you might laugh but it is a common occurrence for dyslexics to forget their homework at home. They usually have a limited mental desk space due to poor working memory and processing speed so they often forget things. 

It is important to make sure that they have inserted their homework into their bags right before they go to sleep. It seems like the smallest thing but it could save them a lot of stress in the morning looking for the homework.


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BulletMap™ is a trademark of BulletMap Studio. SC322092. Trading Name of BulletMap Studio LTD.
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