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
Simple Homework Tips for Kids with ADD and ADHD
By Dr. Robert Myers, PhD
Homework can be difficult for most kids during the school year, but it can become a major challenge when you have a child with ADHD. But here’s some good news for exhausted parents: if you take the right steps now, at the beginning of the school year, homework hassles can be kept to a minimum. The key is to be organized and plan ahead to minimize the frustration your child is bound to experience around multiple homework assignments. Begin by tackling the two most important places: school and home with these homework tips for kids with ADHD and ADD.
At the beginning of the school year, meet with your child’s teacher (or teachers) to find out what the expectations are regarding homework. Try to work out a system where they can let you know in advance what homework will be assigned either on a week-to-week basis or for the whole semester. Many teachers are even willing to keep you informed by e-mail. You should check with your child’s teachers periodically to make sure that things are going well. And definitely remember to ask them to inform you whether assignments are being turned in on time.
Another big problem for kids with ADHD is that they often forget to bring their books home. You may be able to work out with the school, particularly if your child has a 504 plan, to get an extra set of books. This way, your child will have a set of books at school and a set of books at home.
Children with attention disorders, particularly those with a 504 plan, are entitled to accommodations to make school demands appropriate to their abilities. So for example, in math or other subjects with long lists of questions or problems, the accommodation states that the school must allow the child to do every other question or problem, rather than the entire list that’s been assigned. Talk to your child’s teachers about your child’s abilities and the accommodations that can be made. It can make the difference between enduring endless hours of frustration at homework time and having your child succeed.
Moving now to the home front, it’s important, if possible, to have a quiet time in the home where there’s no TV and no other media to distract your child. You might even stop phone calls during homework time. And if you have a project that you’ve brought home from work, consider doing it while your child is doing his schoolwork. (But be available for help if necessary.) This helps younger children with ADHD to understand that homework is a normal part of life—just another responsibility that needs to be met, and it also sets the right mood for focusing and concentration.
It’s best to have a scheduled time for homework and a quiet place to do it. For older kids, it may even be a good idea to set up their own “office”. This could be a space in their room, the living room or kitchen where they do their homework on a regular basis. You might even put up a bulletin board with all their long-term assignments and due dates. What this provides is a way to make it easy to have all the materials they need and to keep them on task.
If you know what your child’s assignments are, you should review them together. Make sure that they understand what they need to do. In particular, be certain they understand the directions completely. If they have homework for several different subjects, you can eliminate much of the hassle simply by helping them to organize their time.
It may be a good idea to break homework into sections. You can set aside time for each specific subject, with some relaxation breaks in between. High school age kids with ADHD certainly can do an hour of homework at a time without a break, while first graders may only be able to go for 10 to 15 minutes without a break. You need to determine what you feel is a reasonable amount of study time for your child, and then help him or her to manage their time appropriately. When they complete their homework successfully, use fun activities such as on TV or video games (or whatever your child enjoys) as a reward.
Finally, a big problem for kids with ADHD is that even when they get the homework completed, they forget to turn it in to the teacher. It’s wise to have a notebook with a clipboard or a separate folder for homework for your child. Remind him or her to check the clipboard or folder at school for each class to be sure that they turned in all the work. Then, before they leave school, they should check it once again. If they find any assignments that were not turned in they should take it to the teacher or the office and hand it in before they leave the campus. Most teachers will accept an assignment later in the day from a child they know to be attempting to cope with ADHD.
The internet also has great resources to help you and your child gather information for homework projects. These include Kid Info www.kidinfo.com, Fact Monster www.factmonster.com and Searching for Stuff-Kid’s search tools www.slco.lib.ut.us/kids_search.htm.