Every child will likely have trouble with homework at some point. But for children with ADD and ADHD, the problem can go beyond a few assignments. Among other things, children with ADD and ADHD face challenges with focusing, patience, and organizing. These challenges can make it hard for students to perform to the best of their potential in, and out of, the classroom.
Helping Your Child Tackle ADD/ADHD and Homework
Children with ADD and ADHD can be hasty, rushing through their homework and making mistakes. They may lose homework, struggle to organize thoughts and tasks, and fail to plan ahead.
The challenges your child faces can be overcome with practiced habits and proper study skills for ADD/ADHD students. With these 10 ADD/ADHD homework tips, your child can learn how to focus on homework with ADD/ADHD and achieve success in the classroom.
Learn how you can help improve your child’s academic skills with these homework and study tips for kids with ADHD/ADD.
Study Strategies for ADHD & ADD
1. Create a homework-only space
Children with ADD and ADHD can be easily distracted by their surroundings. Find a comfortable place where your child can work with few distractions. Use this as a quiet study space away from noise and movement where your child can clear his or her mind and focus.
Don’t do homework in the bedroom. The bedroom is a place for sleep, rest, and relaxation — not work and stress.
2. Create a consistent schedule
It is important for kids with ADD/ADHD to have a consistent routine. This will help your child start his or her homework and focus. Set a time each day for your child to sit down and complete his or her work.
3. Study in spurts
ADD and ADHD can make it hard to focus, so breaks are a must. Studying in short spurts can help. Give your child regular breaks from homework for a snack or a walk, and let the mind refresh and reset! This will give your child a chance to burn off extra energy and improve concentration when he or she returns.
4. Get the teacher involved
It’s hard to always know what is happening with your child at school. Talking to his or her teacher can help make sure you’re informed. Ask the teacher about sending regular reports on your child and updates on homework assignments. If possible, meet with them every few weeks and for progress reports. Knowing what is going on in the classroom can help you and your child’s teacher make changes to make sure your child is learning effectively.
5. Get Organized
Organize school supplies and make checklists and schedules for homework and assignments. Help your child get his or her bag ready for school the next morning and make sure all homework is complete. You can make organization fun for your child with coloured folders, special pencils, stickers and cool labels.
6. Show Support
Encourage your child to always try his or her best. Although your child should be completing his or her work independently, it is okay to help when asked. Help your child look at challenges in a positive light to keep him or her motivated. This will show that you are willing to always help him or her do better.
7. Understand how your child learns
Whether it is auditory, kinesthetic or visual, knowing how your child learns is important. Change studying habits to fit his or her learning style with graphs, visuals, music, walking, or talking out loud. Every child learns differently. Studying in a way that works for him or her can help improve understanding and retention.
Read our Complete Study Guide For Every Type Of Learner for more study tips!
8. Know when it’s time to quit
Children with ADD/ADHD can become easily frustrated and overwhelmed. Encourage your child to keep going as long as he or she can, but don’t push your child too much. If he or she has hit his or her limit, stop for the night. If homework hasn’t been completed for the following school day, send the teacher a note to explain.
9. Offer praise and positive feedback
Congratulate your child after he or she finishes his or her homework. You can also do something special, like a small treat or trip to the park. Even if your child was not able to finish his or her work, praise his or her efforts and strive for a new goal the next day.
10. Move around
Sitting for long periods of time can be challenging for students with ADD/ADHD. Letting your child get up to move around can help him or her maintain focus. Try making studying into a physical activity, where your child counts out steps when practicing math problems like addition and subtraction. Having something he or she can fidget with while doing work can also help. Stress balls are a great item your child can take with him or her wherever he or she goes.
Children Can Succeed With The Right ADD/ADHD Study Skills
Children with ADD and ADHD feel at times they cannot control their own actions. They can become easily distracted, which can lead to poor grades, frustration, and disappointment. These ADD/ADHD study tips will help your child conquer these academic challenges, with improved concentration, time management and organizational skills. Most importantly, they will also help boost self esteem and confidence.
Remember, these changes won’t happen overnight. It will take time for your child to adjust to new routines and habits. Once you, and your child, understand how to study and do homework with ADD/ADHD, your child will be on the way to more effective learning.
Does your child struggle with a learning difficulty? Find out more about Oxford Learning’s Learning Disability Tutoring programs.
ADD Strategies For School Success
It’s Not ADD; It’s Childhood
There are certain scenarios that every parent of an ADHD child dreads: We all cringe and hold our breath when
the school calls. We brace ourselves when we hear a teacher chasing after us, calling our name as we beat a hasty retreat to our cars after school. And we probably all suffer from mild PTSD at the mention of the word "homework."
For me, homework immediately conjures up images of the struggle to get the right assignments written down and all the right materials home to do the work. I can't tell you how often I have been overwhelmed and grumpy before we've even started the actual assignments.
For an ADHD child, focusing takes a great deal more mental energy than it does for a child without it. By the time they sit down to do their homework, ADHD children are already mentally exhausted from having to work on focusing all day at school. Keeping them on track and focusing during homework can feel a lot like trying to sit on a stack of bowling balls — they are just about everywhere but where you need them to be.
Over the years we've been raising our own ADHD child, my husband and I have realized it doesn't have to be that hard. Here are some tricks that we've used to ease the pain of homework:
1. Make Sure Your 504/IEP Addresses Homework
A 504/IEP is designed to help a child be successful. Become familiar with accommodations and modifications that can help y
our child succeed. Modified homework is a lifesaver, showing proof of understanding without doing all assigned problems. Breaking large projects down and turning in benchmarks makes them more manageable. Keeping a set of textbooks at home ensures no forgotten materials. Tailor your 504/IEP to your child's needs.
2. Take a Break
Busy schedules and a tired child can make it seem like getting right on homework is better than waiting. But I've found that a short break — 30 minutes to an hour — doing something the child finds relaxing is a lot like pushing a reset button. Time to get something to eat and unwind restores a bit of that mental energy and makes it easier for your child to sit down, focus, and get to work.
3. Mix It Up
Don't be afraid to abandon the traditional way of doing things. Every child has subjects they enjoy and those they dread. We learned to mix it up, having a child switch back and forth doing a few problems of each at a time. Be creative in using rewards for work. A good friend's son loves to play piano: Each time he finishes an assignment, he gets play for 10 minutes. Keeping the end goal in mind helps us find creative solutions to the homework dilemma.
4. Fidgeting Helps Focus
Most ADHD kids work better with something to occupy part of their brain while the rest works on a central task. We call them fidgets. A stress ball to squeeze, gum to chew, or music playing in the background can all help focus. Don't be afraid to try different fidgets out to see what combination works best.
5. Get the Credit — You Earned It
There's nothing worse than finding out all that painstaking work you did was lost or never turned in. Find out if your school offers a digital gradebook that allows parents to see which assignments are missing. You can create a system that ensures your child's (and your) hard work gets the credit it deserves if you work with the school. An intervention teacher who collects homework and makes sure it is delivered may be the answer. Regardless of the method, communication is the key to fixing this problem.
Homework is a part of life, and problems with homework are a part of ADHD. While there may never be a day when homework is a fast, painless process in our house, staying on top of it and being willing to try the unconventional has certainly made it less traumatic for me and for my children.
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health. See More
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