In Therapy

It’s already 8:30 at night. Your family has already finished dinner and you are trying to wind down for bed until you realize that your child has yet to complete his homework for the evening. Sound familiar? You are not alone.

Problems with homework are common in children in general, but even more common in children diagnosed with ADHD. The reason for this is simple: children with ADHD have difficulties organizing tasks, focusing, paying attention, and working independently.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important tips in order to help your child be successful:

Tip #1: Set a consistent time to complete homework.

Parents, you know your child best! Does your child appear to have the best attention right after school or does your child typically need a short break when coming home from school?

I know it can be challenging to set a consistent time especially if your child is involved in many afterschool activities, but coming up with a consistent time to complete homework is important. Begin your homework time at the same time each day.

By doing so, it will become part of your child’s routine and will help to minimize any unnecessary arguing about when homework should begin.

Tip #2: Set a consistent location to complete homework.

Think about the current location your child currently completes his homework. Does your child work at the dining room table? Does your child do his homework in his room?

For children with ADHD, we want to make sure that we are finding an environment that has very few distractions. This means, the television should be off and the toys should be put away.

Tip #3: Have all materials together before homework begins.

Being that children with ADHD can be disorganized and forgetful, this is an important step in creating an effective homework routine. Make sure your child has gathered all the necessary items before sitting down to start his homework.

Many families find it helpful to have a “homework kit” prepared with all the materials inside such as pens, pencils, paper, calculator, pencil sharpener, and erasers. Then when homework begins, your child does not have to collect all of these items but just needs to grab the container!

Are you interested in ADHD testing or therapy for your child?

Tip #4: Provide supervision.

While your child is working on homework, make sure to provide ongoing supervision. Your role is to supervise the homework process and the quality of the work.

If you check in and notice your child is on-task and focused on his homework assignment, make sure to praise his effort.

“I love how hard you are working right now!”

If you notice your child is distracted and not working, you will want to provide correction whenever possible. Make sure to stay calm and provide a simple statement such as “It is homework time.”

Tip #5: Break up the homework into smaller sections.

Before beginning homework, evaluate the length of assignments. You will want to break the homework assignment into smaller chunks. The smaller chunks should be relatively equal in the amount of time it will take for completion.

A good way to break up the material is based on a child’s grade level: about 3 minutes of work per a child’s grade. That would mean that if you have a 3rd grader, you would break up the work into approximately 9-minute “chunks.”

Given that the smaller sections are based on time, it is absolutely necessary to have a timer during all homework sessions.

At the end of each section of work, provide more positive praise!

Tip #6: Give short breaks.

Breaks should be scheduled before homework begins. Remember to keep it short, around 2 minutes, so that your child can easily be re-engaged with the homework assignment.

The short breaks may not seem like much time, but it gives your child an opportunity to move around, go to the bathroom, or get a drink of water.

Follow these 6 tips to improve your child’s productivity with homework. And remember…..be patient and be consistent with your child and the new homework routine!

Contact Foundations Pediatrics for questions or to schedule an appointment for your child.

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Dr. Jill Driest is the founder of Foundations Pediatrics and a licensed psychologist in the state of Florida. She graduated with her Bachelors degree from the University of Florida and received her Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University.
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