DEAR HARRIETTE: I am having the hardest time getting my children to complete their homework, especially their reading. I have used egg timers and timeouts and punishments. I have talked to their teachers, but it all boils down to them rarely getting the work done. When I come into the room where they are supposed to be reading, they are often playing video games or watching TV. I take those privileges away, but the work rarely gets finished. Any suggestions on getting them to focus? My kids are 9 and 11. -- Read Please, Stamford, Conn.
DEAR READ PLEASE: You can remove the distractions from your home. Take the video games away and put them under lock and key. Remove the television from the room where they do their studying. Make it clear that you will not reinstate their ability to use these electronics until they have proven that they can complete all of their studies in a timely and effective manner.
Limit your own engagement with electronics. Your children watch your example more closely than you know. And, by all means, read! You should cultivate a daily interest in reading. If you sit with your children and read as they are reading, chances are great that they will want to read right along with you.
If none of these options works, go to a reading specialist and have your child evaluated.