How to Get Your Gamer to Do Their Homework

As you almost assuredly know, most middle school students love their screens. From smartphones to laptops to TV, screens are everywhere. And many students use these screens to play games.

While there’s a lot of controversy over whether or not screens are healthy for young people, it’s clear that some games can be a good way for students to unwind and have fun. Some games can even encourage creativity. But sometimes gaming can be so much fun that it can be hard to peel your student away to do their homework. 

Redirecting your middle school student away from their games to their homework desk can seem like a daunting task. If you need help, here’s some advice on how to get your gamer to do their homework.

1. Set a time limit for gaming

Setting a daily time limit for gaming can encourage your student to step away from the screen. They may also be more likely to use the gaming time they have wisely if that time is limited. If your student has a hard time adjusting to limits on gaming, remind them that it’s important to balance academics and fun. 

Hold your student accountable by gently reminding them when their gaming time is up for the day. If they protest, discussing why balance is important—i.e. it helps you get good grades while allowing you to have fun—can be helpful. Ask your student to set a timer to the agreed length every time they sit down to a game.

[RELATED: A Parent's Guide to Learning in the Digital Age]

2. Use time for gaming as a reward

Another strategy to help your student cut back on gaming and spend more time on homework is to use gaming as a reward for completed homework. If your student struggles to get homework done because of gaming, try setting a rule that gaming can only be done after your student completes their homework.

This strategy can hold your student accountable for doing their homework. It may even incentivize doing homework for some students who have a hard time leaving their games or who struggle with schoolwork.  

[RELATED: Keep Calm and Study On—How to Avoid Homework Meltdowns This School Year]

3. Positively reinforce homework completion and good grades

Video games are so appealing to middle schoolers in part because they bring with them instant gratification—something that homework doesn’t usually do. Incentivize the act of doing homework by positively reinforcing it. You can do that by praising your student every time they finish their homework. Encouraging healthy study habits, such as sitting down at the same time every day to do homework, can also be helpful.

The more successful your student feels when doing homework, the more likely they’ll be to continue doing it. Help them “win” at homework by praising good study habits, good grades, and completed assignments. Some students turn to games because they struggle with homework. If this is the case for your student, hiring a tutor can help them stay on top of all their work and feel successful! 

[RELATED: 5 Tactics to Encourage Academic Confidence in Your Middle Schooler]


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