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Homework and Hypnosis

Author: Lisa R. Machenberg, Staff Hypnotherapist and Instructor, HMI

Lisa R. Machenberg

Date Published:
Publisher: Hypnosis Motivation Institute

Happy, Healthy Homework Experiences for Each Child Everyday

When I tell people that I am a Hypnotherapist who specializes in parenting, I often get asked if it is possible to use hypnosis so that homework is a positive and stress free experience for the whole family. The answer is a resounding YES! The best news, however, is the parent can use these techniques at home.

Family homework struggles take many different forms. The most common is procrastination, where the child puts off the task until the last moment. Then there is anxiety, careless mistakes and the child doing the bare minimum. Other families find that the child does his or her homework while also watching TV, instant messaging friends or even talking on the phone. Of course this, too, leads the child reducing the benefit of the learning experience. It is also common for parents to get into protracted fights with their child about starting, concentrating on, completing his or her homework which leads to an endless cycle of bribes, threats and tears. Believe it or not, many families have a combination of all these issues!

The first thing every parent must do is a bit of introspection. It is not uncommon for the supervising adult in the family to struggle in the same way with some projects. Each adult can reflect on his or her own emotions around paperwork and deadlines, as well as remembering any negative experiences in the family of origin with homework. In the present, ask yourself, do you fight procrastination? Do you have any media distracting you during things that require sustained mental concentration? Do you have trouble beginning something that needs to be done or complete what needs to be finished? Understanding your own reactions and history will give each adult insight into what is happening in the family.

Now, let's talk about solutions not only for your child, but for you as well.

First, sit down with your child and have a meeting. This meeting should have an air of importance. It should be held at the kitchen table and refreshments should be served. Tell your child that he or she is very smart so you want him or her to come up with solutions to an important issue. With no blame, shame or criticism, describe the homework situation.

Now, ask the child for his/her ideas to fix it. You will be surprised at how wise your kid really is. Write down the solutions you agree with and then suggest your own. Only write down your ideas if your child agrees with them. Formalize all the agreed upon solutions on a single piece of paper and hang it on the refrigerator. Your child will have a better chance of following the solutions that you both have collaborated on.

Many people do not realize that children up to age 16 do their homework more quickly, accurately and efficiently when a parent actually sits with him or her for at least a portion of the homework time. Children get resentful when they "have" to do their homework and the parent "gets" to watch TV, "play" on the computer or talk on the phone. I'm a working mom, so I do understand how busy you are, how hard you work, and how exhausting your day has been. Still, to the child's perception, he/she has also been working all day.

After school (or the after school activity), put many wonderful snacks on the kitchen table. Sit your child down with his/her homework and then, sit down next to him/her with your paperwork. Can you imagine the change of attitude when he/she sees you balancing your checkbook, completing an article or report, or even reading a book. Imagine how your life would be different if you did your "work" as your child did his/hers? I know you're busy. But try it for at least a half an hour every evening with your child. It goes without saying, this is sacred time. Turn off the TV, computer (unless needed for your work or the child's), and yes, turn off your phone too.

Do you like getting either paid or rewarded for a job well done? So does your child. School and homework is his/her job at this time of his/her life. To earn a reward, all homework needs to be done without complaint, be turned in on time, and represent the child's personal best. If the homework meets these standards, I believe your child can be rewarded for a job well done.

Remember that the homework is the child's responsibility, not yours. Try the following strategy: If your child gives you a hard time, tell him or her that he/she has a choice, either complete the homework or the child needs to write a note to the teacher explaining why it is not done. Then, go to school with your child and have him/her give the note to the teacher and listen to the teacher's reaction. If you do this in the lower grades, I guarantee, you will never have to do this in the upper grades. If you are a working parent, schedule a conference call for the evening or early morning where your child can read the note to his/her teacher and you can all hear the teacher's reaction to the child taking the responsibility for the unfinished work.

In closing, never forget that a productive mind is a disciplined mind. When you teach your children how to study to acquire new information and skills, you have taught a lesson for life!