How To Not Get Bored Of Homework

Tips for Fighting Homework Fatigue in 4 Minutes

  • Posted August 01, 2014 by Christina Schiel in College Life
  • Tags:College Life

It happens to every student: Your eyes start to hurt because you've been staring at the computer screen for too long without blinking. Your forehead is practically resting on the screen since your body has been inching closer to it. Your back hurts because of the leaning, your eyes just want to close, and best of all, you have homework to finish.

Yes, taking a power nap sounds appealing. Yes, watching a 30-minute TV show would give your brain a break. However, if you're like most of us, a power nap turns into not getting out of bed and that 30-minute TV show transforms into two hours of channel surfing. Fight the desire to tackle the assignment later when you're "better rested," because you and I both know that you can conquer this homework assignment now; you just don't want to.

Here's the solution: Trick yourself into getting the energy to complete it. In four minutes, you can persuade your mind that now is the perfect time to devour that low-hanging fruit.

Minutes 1 and 2: Stand up. Walk away from your computer. Shake out your arms and legs. Roll your shoulders backwards then forwards. Kick out your feet. Roll your wrists. Walk up and down stairs if you have them. I even encourage you to do a few jumping jacks. Whatever you do, just keep moving.

Why it works: The body and mind have a dependent relationship on each other. If you're couch-potatoing it, your brain is going to get sleepy. However, if your body is moving, your brain knows that it has to be ready for anything.

Minute 3: Get a pen and paper—don't go back to your homework yet!—and write down all the reasons why you're getting your degree. Don't worry about full sentences, this won't be graded. You can put short phrases such as "children," "get a job," "promotion," "exceed expectations," whatever you like. Write as many reasons as you can, and when you run out of reasons, simply write, "I can succeed. I will succeed" until you hit minute 4.

Why it works: Now that your brain is more alert thanks to the physical activity, it can focus on the bigger picture and not the lonely TV remote. What you're writing on paper is persuading your brain to think beyond just tonight and how this assignment is a step toward long-term success. Your brain will believe what you tell it to believe, so put the right motivators out there.

Minute 4: Bribery and Trickery. For the last minute I want you to do two things. First, think about what you can do tomorrow, if you finish your homework tonight. Don't write them down; just let them fill your thoughts. Think, "If I finish this assignment tonight... I won't have to worry about it tomorrow; I can watch that baseball game without multitasking; I can have homework-free time with my kids." Envision it and imagine what tomorrow will be without this homework lurking. Second, smile a big show-off-your-teeth grin. Yes, it'll feel weird just smiling randomly, but do it.

Why it works: Because bribery and trickery work. Our brains are programmed for tit-for-tat. There has to be a reward for everything. Tell yourself what the reward is now, so you have something to work toward. As for smiling, a smile can trick your body into thinking that you should be happy right now. A frown can persuade your brain otherwise. Remember, you control what your brain thinks. Make it positive.

Now, you re-energized student, be inspired and go tackle that assignment!

For more tips on how to succeed at school, read our College Life blog.

Your kids just spent all day at school. And now you’re asking them to do what? Homework? Hey, that’s kind of like having school at home. After an entire day of paper, pencils, and books, it’s entirely possible that your child will resist (and that’s putting it politely) getting down to business in the after-school hours. Don’t stress out. Whether your child has to study a vocab list, do a few zillion math equations or finish a few extra assignments, we’re sharing eight tips that can magically transform homework from a super-struggle to some serious fun! Scroll down to see them all.

photo: GSCSNJ via Flickr

1. Work Together
Why not be hands off when it comes to your kid’s homework, while still working beside one another? Return emails, answer your co-worker’s texts or work on the PTA fundraiser, modeling focused work to your child as the two of you spend QT together. If you think this seems like you’re not paying attention to your child or you’re slacking when it comes to parenting—it’s not and you aren’t. Instead, you’re creating a shared workspace where the two of you can get business done—together.

2. Get Creative
Sitting like a statue and calculating problem after problem on a math worksheet isn’t exactly exciting, so consider turning a study session into an all out artsy adventure! As your kid reads a chapter from the assigned text, use the opportunity as a chance to put on a play. If acting isn’t what your little learner is all about, paint out math problems, sculpt letters or turn American history into a song.

Other ideas (perfect for older kiddos) include more sophisticated setups, such as creating a series of paintings that explain a text the child is trying to interpret or interpreting a poem by using their own musical notes. The kinder set can get back to basics and finger paint letters, make clay characters from a story or bang on pots and pans to learn about patterns or counting.

3. Make It a Group Effort
Start your own study group. Have your kiddo invite classmates to read, write and do math equations together. If your student is old enough to handle organizing and delegating, take a step back and let your kid take on a leadership role. Younger kids may need more help—think of this as a mini-educational play date for them.

photo: Simply Southern Sunshine

4. Engage the Senses
There’s a reason those darned fidget spinners were suddenly in every kids’ little hands. While engaging your kids’ sense of touch, smell or sight might seem to be a distraction, it can actually help them to focus. Simply Southern Sunshine’s awesomely energizing “wake up” play dough recipe is perfect for keeping the kids awake as they play with shapes, letters and much, much more. You can also engage other senses: Stash a stress ball in the homework area to engage the sense of touch or play white noise to break the crazy-quiet that’s actually distracting to your child.

photo: Danny Piassick via Ellen Grasso & Sons, LLC

5. Design an Awesome Workspace
Take a page from some of the coolest places on Earth to work. Google, Apple and other tech giants all have fab workspaces for their employees. Why? To increase productivity. Create a communal workspace that all your kids (or all your family) can share instead of sending your little learners off to their room alone. Mix it up with a tall desk (by using a shelf) so your child can stand and work, or swap out desk chairs for a yoga ball or a twisty-turny stool. You can see all of our favorite workspace ideas by clicking here!

photo credit: A Beautiful Mess

6. Snack Smart
Let’s face it: A hungry child is an unfocused, unmotivated and unhappy child. Theme it up and create a snack menu that matches the subject at hand. Use letter cookie cutters to create word sandwiches or use fruit and veggie slices to create number shapes or equations. Or try a once in a while special treat, such as these pretzel pizza bites from A Beautiful Mess.

photo: WBEZ via Flickr

7. Office hours
Your child needs some homework help. Instead of hovering (no helicopters here) or taking over and writing your very own book report, set up office hours—just like your college professors did. Make the living room couch or the dining room table into your “office.” The kids can schedule a time to ask questions or can come to your “open hours.” This lets you help your child, without actually doing the work yourself

photo: Delightful Order

8. Fight Bored with a Board
If this board by Delightful Order did anymore, you’d have to start calling it Mom. Visual kids will get a kick out of seeing where they are in the week, posting important assignments, getting special encouraging messages (or silly jokes) from you, and crossing off of tasks as they’re completed. Post your kids’ A papers as inspiration to show them how doing their homework translates into school success.

What ideas do you have to add to our list? Tell us below! 

— Erica Loop & Shannon Guyton

Featured photo: Carissa Rogers via Flickr

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