How to motivate your 12 year old preteen to do their homework?

A teacher and kid sitting at a desk, helping to do their homework.

As partners in your child’s educational journey, we understand the importance of fostering a positive attitude towards learning and study habits. One of the challenges you might be facing is motivating your 12-year-old preteen to consistently complete their homework. Homework serves as a crucial bridge between classroom learning and independent application, and nurturing this habit can greatly influence their academic growth. In this blog, we’re here to share some effective strategies tailored to DPS parents that can help you inspire and guide your preteen towards homework success.

Understanding the importance of homework

Homework is important for 12-year-old preteens because it helps them remember and reiterate what they learn in school. It also makes them think and solve problems, which are important skills. Homework isn’t just about getting good grades. It’s like when you practice a sport or a game to get better. So, even though it might feel like extra work, doing homework now helps them learn things that will stay with them for life. Just like how practising helps you get better at things you love, homework helps them get better at learning and thinking.

Create a Conducive Homework Environment

Homework is a tool that helps your kid’s brain grow stronger. To do homework well, we need a good place to work. Find a quiet spot without noisy things around. Keep our study area neat and tidy, with all the things we need ready. When we have a cosy, organised place to work, we feel more excited and ready to do our homework. So, homework is a super cool tool that helps us learn and grow smarter!

Establish a consistent routine

Creating a steady routine is a really good way to motivate 12-year-old preteen to do their homework. This routine helps them become more responsible and disciplined, making it easier to focus and finish their tasks on time. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Make a Schedule: Plan specific times for studying and breaks. Ask a child to stick to this plan every day.
  • Comfortable Space: Set up a cosy place to study without any distractions. It could be a desk in their room or a quiet corner at home.
  • Clear Expectations: From the start, let them know that finishing homework is a must. Stick to this rule consistently.
  • Take Breaks: Encourage the child to pause and stretch every half an hour. This keeps them focused and prevents feeling tired.

When we create a consistent routine for doing homework, we help our preteen to build good study habits. These habits will be super helpful throughout their school journey.

Set realistic goals and rewards

Setting realistic goals and rewards is a great way to make homework more interesting for your preteen. When your little learner has small, achievable goals to aim for, such as finishing a certain part of their work, it makes them feel proud and motivated. And when they reach these goals, it’s important to celebrate their efforts with positive words or even a little reward, like their favorite snack or a fun activity.

Breaking homework into smaller tasks helps it feel less overwhelming, and making goals that your preteen can actually reach keeps them from getting discouraged. Using positive words and rewards shows them that you appreciate their hard work, which makes them want to keep trying.

Remember, it’s not always possible to follow this routine every single day, but even if you help them with this process for around 90 days, it’s worth it. This shows them that you care about their success and that spending time together matters. While they work, you can also do your own things, just make sure to be there for them when they need help.

Provide guidance and support
Being the primary caregiver, a parent’s validation is most important to any child, regardless of their age. As a pre-teen your child is oscillating between finding their identity, and personality while also retaining some of their need for validation from you. This is an opportune time to help them learn some degree of independence, and help them understand the importance of their actions. Offering guidance and support can greatly impact their motivation for homework. Some tips that can help strengthen this bond and create a good roadmap for a parent-teen relationship are:

  • Be there for them: Make sure you’re available to answer their questions and help them when they need it. This shows them that you care about how they’re doing in school and that they can come to you for help. These may not be academic questions but knowing your tween can turn to you is important.
  • Praise the effort; not the results: When they work hard on their homework, let them know you’re proud of them. It’s not just about getting everything right – trying their best is important too. This teaches them the importance of trying and not giving up.
  • Check on their progress: Regularly see how their homework is going and if they’re keeping up with their goals. This helps you understand if they need extra help. On the few occasions if you’re not available to sit with them regularly it also cues to them that you care about them, and their progress. 
  • Stay positive: Even if they find some things challenging, avoid getting upset with them. Instead, give them positive feedback and helpful suggestions to improve. Often, parents expect that their children will fare the same way in academics or certain subjects. Or worse, expect that they will do better. Remove all such expectations and see your child’s abilities for what they are. If they excel in other areas, highlight those, and help them recognise the positive sides to their academics instead of dwelling on what’s not working right. 
  • Support, not do: Your job is not to do their homework for them. It’s about creating a place where they feel comfortable to learn and take charge of their own education. Therefore, as tempting as it’s to do their work for them, refrain from the urge. Instead guide their curiosity and encourage them to find answers –either at school, peers or through group studies. 

Remember, you’re like their learning coach, cheering them on and helping them do their best.

Communicate with teachers

Connecting with your child’s teachers is crucial for their school success. When parents maintain an open and respectful conversation with teachers, they get important insights into their child’s progress and difficulties.

Regularly talk to your child’s teachers and ask about their homework and class activities. This helps you find where your child might need extra help.

Also, make sure to know about important dates and tasks by checking their school planner or online information. This helps you understand their workload and make sure they are doing well in their studies.

Remember, teachers are there to help. They have useful advice and support. By working together, you can make sure your preteen has the best learning experience and reaches their school goals.

Foster a love for learning

If parents are struggling to spark their child’s interest in learning, now is a great time to make a change. Alongside the practical strategies we’ve discussed, there are simple ways for parents to ignite a passion for knowledge in their preteens.

  • Make it relevant: Help your child see how what they learn at school connects to their daily life and dreams for the future.
  • Encourage curiosity: Feed their natural curiosity by sharing books, documentaries, and things that capture their interest.
  • Lead by example: Be a learning role model. Share your interests and what you’ve learned with your child.
  • Make it fun: Add excitement to homework with games, quizzes, and interactive activities.
  • Allow exploration: Let your preteen explore topics they like, even if it’s not part of school.
  • Emphasise progress: Celebrate every small step they take in learning.
  • Share success stories: Tell stories of successful people who faced challenges and achieved their goals.
  • Connect with peers: Encourage them to study and chat about homework with friends. A sense of community helps.
  • Celebrate learning: Include learning in daily life. Celebrate their achievements, talk about new topics, and ask questions.

In the journey of motivating 12-year-old preteens to excel in their studies, as a parent it can get frustrating at times. Remember to stay calm. Teaching them, and helping them discover what truly excites them and keeps them motivated is not a one-hour discovery program. Instead as your child evolves their personality with age, this process keeps iterating itself. 

Homework acts as a bridge between classroom knowledge and real-world application, significantly impacting their academic growth. By offering a conducive homework environment, establishing a consistent routine, setting achievable goals with rewards, providing guidance and support, and communicating with teachers, you can actively participate in their educational journey. By igniting their curiosity, making learning enjoyable, and staying positive, you can cultivate a lifelong love for learning. This will be an evolving process that requires patience and adaptability as your child’s interests and personality develop over time.