8 y.o. DD having massive meltdowns about homework (mainly)(10 Posts)
My DD is just 8 (year 3) goes to a lovely local state school which she enjoys. She is in a mixed 3/4 class and is on the G&T register (she did individual sats in year 2 and was graded 4a for everything). She is normally a lovely child - bit full on as never stops talking but otherwise fine. I am very happy with how school treat her because they make sure she has enough interesting stuff to do and she has lots of friends. However, just lately she has started to refuse point blank to do her homework. I am not a big fan of homework in primary school but the stuff she is given is not onerous (1 lot of literacy and 1 lot of maths, plus spellings which we never have to practice because she can do them). If she sat down and just did it, it would take 30 minutes tops. Yesterday she spent 2 hours screaming, crying and generally carrying on because she claimed it was too easy, then she changed her tack and said it was too hard. Initially I tried to help her, then I calmly told her if she didn't want to do it I would write a note (this made the tantrum much worse ), then I tried leaving her on her own to just get on with it. After 1 hour she had written two words. I then lost my temper and sent her to her room and told her not to come out until she could behave like an 8 y.o. and not a toddler. 10 minutes later she came back down and did her homework.
If anybody has any advice please feel free to share as this is starting to ruin whole weekends. I have told her that from next week she will not be allowed tv, wii etc until she has done it. I have no idea if this is g&T related but I posted here because my frustration is around the fact she isn't being given extra hard homework so she could easily do it.
I have a dd 9 and the rule here is that I will sit with her for an hour on a Sunday whilst she completes it (1 numeracy and 1 literacy sheet) After an hour I move away, it's invariably finished anyway so we sit chatting. If she didn't complete it because of tantruming (unlikely as no tantrums here because I'd walk away at the first sign) then she would face the consequences at school. I think if it's not done then they miss golden time and do homework then at dd's school.
Don't allow yourself to be drawn in, tantrums are only worthwhile if they have an audience, delaying tactics only work when there is no time limit, the consequences should come from school because it is a task set by the school if it's not done it has no effect on you so don't get involved. I'm sure once all the attention is removed she'll decide to do it without a fuss and if she doesn't then the school can either give an incentive or consequence as they see fit.
I could have written your post word for word except my 8yr old is male!
One thing I have learnt about him recently is he is much more of a 'carrot' child than 'stick'...in other words he responds much better to (small) reward than punishment. So with this is mind at parents evening I asked the teacher for advice and she suggested that if he does homework without significant argument I should put a little note in his contact book and she would monitor and reward with the odd merit mark.
We also agreed to tell him that I was also at liberty to report to her if he had really made a song and dance and she would have a word!
Would something similar be an option?
Well I could have written your post too a couple of years ago! My DS is G&T and in yr 1 flatly refused to do homework. He would use delaying tactics which would ruin our evenings and weekends and when he had finally run out of time he would throw tantrums and lie on his back and kick the floor. All the time he would be shouting 'it's not fair, this is easy, I do not want to do it, it's not fair'. The teacher (a NQT) shrugged her shoulders and (not for the first time) I had to solve the situation myself. I used a technique that is used by paediatrician for sleep training. As soon as he started crying or shouting I would calmly remove the book and say 'OK, that is fine, I will write a message to your teacher'. This would make him worse and sometimes I would give him the book back, however, the minute he cried again I would remove it. You have to be strong yourself and carry through the message that the minute there is any crying/shouting the homework stops and is put away. As insanityscrtching says, you only get tantrums with an audience and I would walk away. The child is then responsible for the consequences and actions. Changing behaviour in this way, I am told, takes up to 7 days, possibly longer if the child is older. But it does work! It worked perfectly for sleep training in approx 3 days at age 3 (DS used to get up and I had to put him back immediately even if it was 30 times in an evening) and about 4 or 5 days for homework. In terms of delaying tactics and getting him to sit down in the first place, I did for a while hide remote controls/the wii and changed computer passwords. He was not allowed any of these things until homework had been done.
Obviously it works much better if there is support from the school. We changed schools and DS now does 40 mins homework every night without so much as a murmur! He gets reward for completing his homework from school and I think his new school generally has different expectations.
He is usually a well behaved child (if a little headstrong!) but they all go through phases and I think this technique works in a variety of settings.
I am sure it is not unique to G&T but it does not help to get them into good study habits, which they will need when they are older, if homework set is too easy.
DD (9) can be like this. I just calmly say it is then up to her to explain to the teacher why the homework has not been completed. I don't argue or engage. Very, very effective she never wants to be seen as not trying for the teacher. I don't even write a note is entirely her responsability to explain. I did e-mail the teacher the first time so she is aware and she agrees it is DD's responsability not mine to ensure homework is completed. There are housepoints rewarded at school for well completed homework so it is an all carrot no stick system.
Glad I read this, we had a nearly identical situation with ds yesterday. My reaction was to offer to write a note to the teacher explaining lack of homework. Cue panickedmreaction but it didn't get the homework done. Confiscation of electronics - no effect. Ds really upset but he couldn't seem to figure out why for himself. I actually think it's a form of perfectionism in his case - he wants the homework to be perfect and isn't convinced that it will be. Hope it stops soon!
She is probably having a growth spurt and is very tired plus needing extra calories.
I suggest you provide extra snacks, earlier bed time, allow an appropriate length of time, after food, for doing homework, then if it isn't done, write a note to the teacher, tell DD that she will have to explain to the teacher why the homework isn't done, then put dd to bed.
It is a phase.
Interesting. Ds definitely having a growth spurt, he seems to do all his growing in one go, once a year, rather than growing gradually. He eats little for most of the year and then craves carbs / sleeps more than usual. I having been filling him up with toast! Maybe that's it and it will resolve in a week or so....
Thanks for all your lovely replies - it's amazing how much better I feel knowing other people have the same problem. I actually think sending her to her room as soon as she starts is probably the best way to deal with as she seems to snap out of it faster. Being nice doesn't work at all! She is unable to explain why she does it and I do think there is a perfectionist element to it, but that is no excuse. The homework is easy, but it is not boring and there isn't huge amounts of it either. Like I say I'm not even convinced it is G&T related.
Unfortunately she is one of those kids who needs little sleep and whilst she is always in her room by 7.30 it is not uncommon for her to still be awake at 9.30. She is allowed to read or listen to a talking book/relaxing music but she finds it very hard to switch off. Never have to wake her up in the morning though.
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