No matter how it pains to see your child suffer with his homework, you need to let her do it on your own. Take it from researchers from Finland, a country that has one of the best educational systems in the world.
The "First Steps Study," a new research involving 2,000 children that focuses on student learning and motivation, compared moms who encouraged their school-aged children, from grade 2 to grade 4, to do more independent work and moms who helped their children accomplish their homework.
The results showed that kids who had more opportunities to do their own assignments and were encouraged to do so learned to work more persistently, which helped them learn valuable life skills, such as hard work. The moms who always helped their child do their homework ended up doing more of their children's homework.
"One possible explanation is that when the mother gives her child an opportunity to do homework autonomously, the mother also sends out a message that she believes in the child's skills and capabilities," Jaana Viljaranta, an associate professor from the University of Eastern Finland, explained in a press release.
This confidence makes the child believe in her skills and capabilities. The moms who always helped their child with their homework, on the other hand, could be sending the message that they have doubts about their child's abilities to accomplish their homework.
If encouraging the child to do his homework by himself and giving him more opportunities to do so helps him learn how to be more persistent and value hard work, does that mean you shouldn't help your child in his assignments at all?
Of course not. "Parents should offer concrete help when their child clearly needs it. However, concrete help is not something that should be made automatically available in every situation — only when needed," Viljaranta emphasized.
How do you know if you're helping your child too much or just right? It's different for each child, but there's a clear line between "here's how you can answer these types of questions" and "here's the answer to that question." If in doubt, follow these three fundamental guidelines:
1. Take a step back and give your child some space
Remember when you'd sit down with your preschooler and go through the assignment one by one? Stop. Set study time and give your child his own study space that's conducive to learning, and let him be. This helps establish a homework routine.
2. Be present and available, but don't hover
When your child is doing his assignments, just be nearby. It encourages him to make his decisions. Giving him a bit of room reminds him that you're there to help if he needs it, and so you can also see what your child is doing and observe how he's getting his tasks done.
3. Let your kid make mistakes
Your child needs guidance, so guide. Ask him what his assignments are and if he understands what he needs to do. When you go over your child's work, resist the urge to correct his mistakes. Encourage him to review his work and see if he can figure it out on his own.
Yes, it might be easier to do your child's homework, and it would probably take up less time, but think of the skills he could have learned by being more independent. Teaching your child to be more persistent and to value hard work are just some of the skills that can help him discover more of his strengths.
Oh, and if your child can do his own homework with very minimal supervision, it could mean more free time for you.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.