How to motivate children to do homework is the problem almost every parent has to face to. Reward and punishment are the most direct solutions, but cannot last long. In fact, there is no best solution since every child is different. We explored some ways such as playing a game, competing with imagination friends, finishing homework step by step, better than more kids, making the teacher admire your children, being able to teach siblings/friends in the future, and so on. The key point is trying new ways from time to time so that your children will not realize that you are actually getting them to finish homework~~But first of all, you need to talk to children & find out why they do not want to do the homework.
Playing a Game
We made up several games for homework.
One of the most effective games is called "Everyone Finishes 90% Work by Dinner". The rule is that as long as everyone in the family finishes 90% of his/her work by the time of dinner, treats like a piece of chocolate or cake will be awarded. In this game, my two kids watch each other so that both of them can finish homework.
Another similar game is called "Let's be the Gryffindor House". Both of my kids love Harry Potter, so we decide to have 20 points everyday and tell kids to earn points while avoiding losing points. By the end of the day, if the whole family have more than 10 points, then that day will be the Gryffindor House Day. Otherwise, it will be a Slytherin House Day. Things to deduct points include not finishing homework by dinner, not sharing toys/food, fighting with each other, etc. To earn points, kids need to finish homework on time, eat well, etc. Parents can also lose points by telling kids not to do certain things too many times. Kids love this game since it sounds like what happens in Harry Potter book -- deduct points when you make mistakes & earn points when you achieve.
Competing with Imagination Friends
Most children have imagination friends sometime. If they do not, you can make it up. For example, Mike has already finished this homework and he is now playing soccer in the playground. Jack has only completed 10% of the homework but he is still working hard and trying to finish the rest in 20 minutes. Do you want to be caught up by him?You may get some questions like "Who are Mike and Jack?" you can be creative or just tell them Mike is the kid all the teachers love and Jack is the kid who wants to be good.
Finishing Homework Step by Step:
Sometimes the homework may be too long for children to finish in a short time. They feel desperate since they think it can take very long to finish it & want to give up. In this case, helping them break the long homework into small pieces and encouraging them to test how long it can take to finish one piece will be the solution. Keep on breaking until your children can finish each piece in 15 minutes (or shorter), depending on children's tolerance.
Better than x% of Children in the world
Sometimes your children finish their homework in a hurry and refuse to implement it with more details. In this case, you can provide several levels of details and label each level "better than x% of children in the world". For example, the homework question is "How to show your kindness to other kids?", and your child's answer is "Sharing". You may start the conservation with "Do you know your answer is too general that 90% of the kids in the world can do better than you?" Then your children may ask you how to be better or they do not care. Whatever answer you get, you can say "If you answer sharing toys, you will be better than 20% of the kids. Isn't that easy?". For next level, you can keep on making it up such as "If you answer sharing my favorite toy with those kids, you will be better than 30% of the kids", or "Do you want to know how to defeat 90% of the kids in the world?". No matter they are interested in being better or not, you can guide them to complete the details by asking questions such as "Can you give me an example of how you sharing things with your friends/brothers/sisters in the park?" or "How do you share books/toys in the classroom?". Finally, you can tell children that if they can write down what was just said, they can be better than 99% of the kids in the world.
Making the Teachers Admire Your Children
Getting help from the teachers is another common way. Ask you teacher to admire your kid in class if he/she finishes the homework efficiently. Using this way to set up kids' learning habits/interests since it is impossible to ask the teachers to do it regularly.
Being Able to Teach Siblings/Friends
Encourage kids to teach other younger kids (siblings or friends) what they have learned from homework. Teaching is the best way of learning. Kids will be able to summarize and remember the knowledge before they can teach it to other kids. Besides, they will be proud of themselves being a teacher.