“This house turns into a free for all”.
“Am I crazy? I can’t stop yelling at him”.
“I end up doing her projects for her because it’ll never get done”.
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you have probably found yourselves saying at least one of the above quotes about homework time. You are not alone, and no, you definitely are not crazy. It is very common for parents of children with ADHD to feel as if their house is completely out of control during homework time. All kids struggle to pay attention, listen, sit still, or complete their schoolwork, but for kids with ADHD, the struggles are harder and happen more frequently.
Attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
Completing assignments and remembering due dates requires intense focus and memory, which at times seems impossible. But completing homework during a reasonable time can be practical if you follow these tips:
Make sure they are writing down their assignments.
Make sure the teacher is allowing your child enough time to write their assignments down. Your child will respond best if the teacher writes the assignment on the board, with plenty of time to have it copied in one place. This will help your child stay focused and organized.
Create a “to do” folder and a “completed work” folder.
This will help your child remember to take the assignments home and the completed work back to school. It will be easier for them to remember all of the work with just two folders, instead of multiple items.
Schedule homework time.
If your child is in after school activities and finding time to do the homework is a challenge, set a calendar in the kitchen with homework times for each day. It makes it simpler for children with ADHD to focus if they are sticking to a schedule.
Create a homework spot.
Find a spot in your home where your child can comfortably work with little distractions. It should be the same designated area each day to establish consistency.
Focus on one assignment at a time.
Having multiple assignments to do at once can be very overwhelming. Create an order of subjects to follow each day. Keep only the things they need for one subject at a time in front of them. The other subjects should be kept in their backpack.
Concentration may take a lot of energy from your child, so schedule 5 minutes breaks every 20 minutes to give them a chance to recharge.
Pack it up.
When the work is done, help your child organize and pack their bag with the completed work and put the bag by the front door.
Praise your child’s effort.
Remind them throughout their homework process of how well they are doing, how great their work is, and give sincere, positive feedback. Children respond well to token systems, so you can even give them a star when an assignment is completed. A certain amount of stars (set by you) can be redeemed for special privileges.
Although these strategies may seem overwhelming, putting this system in place now will save you a lot of time and negative energy in the future. And remember, parents should be rewarding themselves when the homework gets done, too!