In School

10 Homework Tips for ADHD Children

Eileen Bailey Sep 18th, 2014 (updated Sep 27th, 2016)
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For many children, homework is a mundane but routine task. For others, especially those with ADHD, homework is a process where any number of things can go wrong. In short, for children with ADHD and their parents, homework can be a nightmare. But there are things you can to do to make it easier and less painful.

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Know what to expect
Know what to expect

Before battling with your child each night, talk with the teacher to find out what is expected and the consequences of not completing homework (or not turning it in.) Ask if you can have advance notice, such as an email, on homework assignments or if the teacher posts the assignment online.

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Set a specific time for homework
Set a specific time for homework

If homework is to be completed each day, at the same time, your child knows what to expect. If you want homework done immediately after school, consider having your child do some physical exercise for a few minutes before starting homework. Exercise has been found to improve focus and after a long day at school your child might be ready for some physical activity. 

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Set up rules
Set up rules

Decide what time homework starts, how long breaks should be and when they should be taken. Make sure all electronics are turned off (unless background noise helps your child focus), and where homework should be done. Write down the rules and post in the homework area.

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Help your child organize homework
Help your child organize homework

Start by having your child create a checklist of what needs to be completed, checking off each item helps him a sense of accomplishment and can motivate him to continue.  Be sure your child has all the supplies he needs so he doesn’t need to continually get up to get something and increase the chances of being distracted. 

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Have a folder for completed homework
Have a folder for completed homework

Many times students with ADHD finish their homework only to lose it before handing it in. Have a folder designated for completed homework only. At the end of homework time, use the checklist to make sure everything is in the folder and ready to go to school the next day. You can use this folder for any papers you needed to sign as well.

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Advocate for your child when necessary
Advocate for your child when necessary

If your child has a section 504 or an IEP, you can ask for an extra set of textbooks or the ability to do every other math problem. Consider problems your child has when doing homework and whether these can be solved with accommodations.

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Stay close by
Stay close by

While you want your child to be able to complete homework independently, you also want him to know you are around should he have any questions or need help. Stay in the area, without hovering over him. 

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Use timers
Use timers

Set a timer for a certain amount of minutes (less for younger children, longer for high school students), and say, “Let’s see how much you can get done in this amount of time.” Then go back to check how much work was completed. Trey to keep it positive and use the timer as a way to stay focused and motivated. 

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Use color coding
Use color coding

Have your child write down every assignment in one place. For older, high school students who have phones, have them record their assignment in the phone or send themselves a text message with the assignment.  

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Point out the positive
Point out the positive

It is easy to become frustrated and focus on what your child isn’t doing right, but take time to point out when he is focused or works hard to get the right answer. Positive reinforcement works much better as a motivator.