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My 6 year old son doesn't do homework, gets distracted easily!

Asked by Female, 36, Married
I have a 6 years old son who doesn't pay attention when we ask him to do his homework. He does start doing his homework but gets distracted easily. I have to remind him every 5 mins to concentrate in his homework which makes me feel angry and I get frustrated. What should I do?
Answer
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Nisha Bothra
Counselling Psychologist

Hi there! Thank you for reaching out. I can imagine how frustrating it must be. At 6 years though, children do not fully understand why doing homework is important or the consequence of not doing it. Naturally, as a parent we take responsibility of making them do it. Many times this itself becomes a problem. Firstly, when we take responsibility, we tend to push, nag, punish and argue. We also tend to get angry and irritable which makes homework look like a burden to both the child and us. Secondly, when we try to "make" the child do something, it becomes a war of exerting control between the child and you, and the homework is lost in the process. Understand that you cannot make your child concentrate or finish his work. You can set limits/consequences, encourage positive behavior and discourage distractions. To set limits/consequences, limit the time your child sits with his homework and let him know that. They do not understand the concept of time, so show them the hands of a clock and let them know they need to finish their work "before this hand reaches here". Teach them consequences by letting them know that they can do an activity (like watching cartoons) only after they finish their work. Refrain from using sentences like "you cannot do this till you finish" as it again translates into a battle for control. Instead smile and say "first finish then you can watch". Learn to keep your anger in check. Do not give in if your child is crying or screaming. You are only reinforcing that behavior otherwise. Encourage when they follow instructions. Help take distractions like mobile, TV, etc away.

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