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 be anxiety provoking for both you and your child.
- Ensure your child’s IEP has modifications that refer to homework expectations. IEP’s are designed to ensure success. It is important to be involved in the development of the IEP with the school.
- Your child should be getting adequate breaks throughout the day and the same goes for homework. You know your child best. Gauge how much time he/she can stay on task before needing a break. You can use a first/then board and a time timer as a visual to help your child understand exactly how much time is left before a break. Pre determine what preferred activity your child would like to do once the timer is done. This will allow for a break as well as an incentive
- 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, chewing gum etc… Before you pass on this tip, it is important to understand that a fidget is a tool, not a toy. The use of a fidget is a skill that needs to be taught. This can be done by reading a social story or searching a video on YouTube.
- Offer praise. We all enjoy praise and are motivated by it. Be specific with your praise. Instead of just saying ‘good job”, you can for example say, “I like the way you are staying focused on that math problem.
- Be consistent. Have a predictable routine. It take 1-3 months to for a routine to become a habit and even longer for someone with ADHD.
- Check in at the finish.Review your child’s work to see if it is complete. If your child consistently takes more time than he/ she should, speak to the teacher to see if it’s possible to adjust the amount of homework. Perhaps the IEP needs to modified.
Homework is a school requirement and an opportunity to teach your child organizational skills. With time, commitment and patience homework can eventually become a less painful process.