5 Methods for Making Homework Simpler for ADHD Children
Homework. These two words don’t seem to go together.
Home is where you can relax, be yourself and get a little break from “work”.
When they get home from their 30-hour week “job”, many children long for free time. You want a break from “work” – from being “on” or exerting yourself six hours to be attentive!
Who can blame children for not wanting to do their homework?
As parents, we know that homework reinforces what you learn from everyday school life. Reviewing the material and practicing skills are fruitful. However, if you have a child (or more), you likely have stories that prove otherwise. Especially with screens as part of the equation.
Attention-disturbed children have problems with problems unrelated to specific homework:
- Disdrawn by the internet
- Disillusioned with the topic
- Disengaged during the lessons in the school
- Distraught at how long it takes to answer a single question
- Discombined by trying to categorize the most important
Homework also assumes that all children have mothers who stay at home who are available “on call” – which is not entirely true these days!
Since our intelligent but scattered children are not naturally endowed with minds that can keep track of due dates and instructions, here are some homework strategies to help alleviate the challenges facing ADHD children. But remember – the most important thing you can do to help your child is to notice what they are doing well and to encourage them.
Here are 5 homework strategies for ADHD kids to get you started:
- Allow the children to organize their homework routine.
- Right after school or later?
- Divided into time periods?
- With or without music?
- At the desk or the kitchen counter?
- Allow them to change it from day to day
From the 5th grade onwards, independence with homework can be a major goal. Parents should help from start to finish – not nagging until the end. You can gradually help your child less and less and still expect quality work.
- 5th grade is a time when independence is expected (from a brain development perspective).
- Note: This can be delayed for many children with managerial challenges
- Parents should help from start to finish – not nagging until the end.
- Gradually help less and less and still expect high quality work.
- Goal: Only help when your child asks.
- Remember, it is their work – not yours.
- Digital post-it notes for work for some students – they see them on their desktop when they get to the screen.
- Reward for the independent use of processes and organizational strategies, adherence to a schedule and concentration on online resources (instead of YouTube, etc.).
- Calendars or bulleted lists help enormously. Student planners and online calendars tend to be “out of sight and out of mind”.
- Large whiteboards are great, ideally one for each child.
- Name a special place on the wall for this. Use it to make charts that keep track of homework topics or nightly reading.
- Use abbreviations and humor to simplify and keep your child’s attention.
- Boxes on the chart can also list homework.
- Let your child guess how long it should take to finish.
- It is beneficial for an ADD mind to keep track of time elapsed. When the work is done, write down how long it actually took to record the time management.
- A desk. The kitchentable. The treehouse. What’s best for learning and focusing? Some children may have to do homework in the same place every night. Some need novelty. As they all learn and respond to different stimuli, they need consistency with the basics:
- Comfortable, flat surface
- Well lit from above
- Not too far from the printer if a middle or high school student
- Quiet (except possibly headphones)
- Free from distraction
- No mess
- Equipped with the required materials
- Fidgeting, which helps focus (not distract)
Paperwork – Breathe and Scan Everything!
- It seems impossible to keep track of the endless reading logs, rubrics, drafts, and worksheets!
- It is even more difficult to keep them in their original state. Technology is your friend here.
- Teachers who post documents on their websites are saviors. Scan any blank reading logs or tasks to record at home.
- Color coding folders and notebooks for some kids also helps.