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Homework Strategies for your ADHD Child

For a child with ADHD homework can be a challenge. Just getting the assignment written down and the correct books in the backpack to go home can be a monumental task.

If papers do make it home, assignments may still not get done. For many kids the energy that must be used to recall the instructions, understand the assignment, and focus on the tedious task of getting it completed with all the other distractions around may prove too much.

Homework involves numerous steps – and one missed step can create lots of problems. For your child, it can become so overwhelming that it is easier to just not do it. Homework can be frustrating for parents, children, and teachers – but providing tools and support will make it easier for your child and you to stay in control…
  • Start a homework folder. Go shopping with your child to pick out a folder with inside pockets to put completed homework papers in – ‘the homework folder’ – and a notebook where homework assignments can be written down.
  • Arrange teacher reminders. Ask your child’s teachers if they’ll help with verbal reminders to the entire class: ‘Your assignment tonight is… I will give you all a few minutes. Please write your assignment down now.’ Ask her if she could write the assignment on the board in addition to giving verbal instructions (this approach can be beneficial to the whole class, not just your child).
  • Ask them to double check. Your child’s teacher can be on the look out to make sure your child is focused and writing the assignment down as instructed. If he isn’t, a simple tap on the desk or pat on the back may be enough to refocus him without drawing attention. The teacher can even check his assignment notebook at the end of class to make sure it’s accurate. If possible try to get a schedule of the week’s assignments so you can have them at home as a backup.
  • Organize your child’s backpack. Help your child organize his backpack. Use part of homework time to show him how to clean out old, unnecessary items in the book bag so they don’t distract him from current assignments.
  • Schedule homework time. Get into the habit of tackling homework soon after your child is home from school or after-school activities. A healthy snack to re-energize and a drink to refresh is nice. After that, it’s homework time.
  • Have a designated area for homework. The kitchen table, a desk in a nearby quiet room but preferably not his bedroom, as the distractions may be too great there and he’ll be isolated. For children at this young age, your extra support and parental guidance is essential, so sit with your child as he completes his homework and be available to answer questions, encourage his efforts, and provide prompts when needed.
  • Create a productive environment. Some children do best in quiet; some do better with a little background noise or music. Some kids work best with periodic short breaks. You and your child can work out which environment is most productive for him.
  • Make the routine predictable and stress-free. After homework is done, check it over; then help your child put the completed assignment in his homework folder and return all appropriate items to his backpack.
  • Praise your child for a job well done. Make a point of providing positive feedback to your child for his hard work. Believe it or not, homework can be fun if you remain relaxed and upbeat – and this approach will help to set a good tone for homework for years to come as your child grows older and more independent. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the negative when you should be remembering to point out the things your child is doing well. A positive approach is so much more effective.

Homework strategies for your ADHD child
Information kindly supplied by Arctic Healthcare, Eye-Q supplements.
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