Homework Nagging Nightmares

By Susan P. Epstein, LCSW, Parent Coach
Author of Are You Tired of Nagging? Get Kids To Cooperate

“Do you have homework?”
“A  little.”
“Okay, do it before dinner.”

You come back an hour later and your kid is talking on the cell, updating facebook or watching Family Guy.

“Do your homework.”
“I will, as soon as I say goodbye, finish this text or the show is over.”

It’s now 9pm.

“Is your homework done?”
“Mom, stop nagging me!”


It is 7PM and your child informs you that the science project is due tomorrow morning. You launch into a lecture of what responsible behavior is supposed to look like. Your child tells you that you are nagging.


You have been sitting at the kitchen table for 3 hours with your child and the 4 pages of handouts have not been completed. You have reminded your child to complete these at least 100 times. Your child tells you that you are nagging.

Or your child is assigned a project, which really means that you have been assigned the project...you think something is wrong with this picture because you already went to school and thought that that chapter of your life was completed. Your child is now nagging you, that it won’t get done and you should hurry up!

Or maybe worse, your child has told you that the homework has been completed, but at the progress report, you are informed that your child has not handed in any homework to date! Now every day after school your are yes, ‘nagging’ your child about letting you see the homework.

Most parents struggle with some type of homework nagging nightmares.

Here’s what you can do right away to stop nagging and get cooperation on the homework front:

  • Visual Cues: Get a big calendar and hang it in a prominent place.
  • Teach Organization: When your child comes home from school have your child transfer the assignments and due dates to the big calendar.
  • Teach Success: Break down projects into bite size pieces and put the smaller "to do's" on the calendar.
  • Be Available but Occupied: Have children do homework in the same room as you. The kitchen table is a perfect place. While your child is doing homework, sit with your child, and pay bills, read or plan your own projects.
  • No more running out the day before a project is due: Buy all the supplies before school starts. This includes the poster boards, glue sticks, markers, scissors, etc...
  • Set a timer for homework completion: If you know that 4 handouts should talk 1 hour set the timer for an hour. This will motivate your child to complete the assignment. Always reward with something positive.

Remember, the best rewards are time with YOU!

Susan P. Epstein is a certified Brief Strategic Family Therapist and trained with the Family Therapy Institute, at the University of Miami. She completed training in 2003 with the internationally accredited Coaches Training Institute. She has authored several book and audio programs focused on parenting issues including Are You Tired of Nagging? Get Your Kids to Cooperate: How to Raise Well-Behaved Children and The Take Back Your Parenting Power System: Get Control of Your Kids in 30 Days or Less: The Secret Formula to Powerful Parenting. More information on Susan and her work can be found on her website, www.parentingpowers.com.