Living With

10 Suggestions for Winning the Homework Wars

Eileen Bailey Nov 7, 2012 (updated Mar 14, 2014)
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Use motivational charts or games
Use motivational charts or games
Children with ADHD often have a hard time connecting future events, like a grade on a report card, to completing a task today. Use games or charts to create immediate rewards at home.
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Make a homework supply box
Make a homework supply box
Sitting still is sometimes hard for children with ADHD so they continually get up to find homework supplies and get more distracted. Create a homework supplies box that has everything they may need and is only used at homework time so the supplies aren’t scattered around the house.
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Provide a break between school and homework time
Provide a break between school and homework time
This break can be a half hour of activity indoors or outdoors that gives your child a break from sitting still. It is also gives you a chance to look over the homework that needs to be completed.
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Set goals and break down larger projects
Set goals and break down larger projects
Set up a system for your child, such as completing math homework first, taking a five minute break and then moving on to the next subject. Also, break down large or long-term projects into smaller parts. This allows them to focus on one thing at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by the whole project or “all” homework.
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If homework takes hours, talk with the teacher
If homework takes hours, talk with the teacher
Some teachers will allow your child to only complete part of the homework, such as the even problems, if key concepts are still covered. Some teachers can say how long work should take, then when that limit is up move on to the next subject. If your child needs help in a specific subject, tutoring is often free at schools.
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Incorporate breaks into homework time
Incorporate breaks into homework time
As children get older, homework takes longer and this may be difficult for a child with ADHD. Set an amount of time, such as half an hour, that your child work through and then have a 5 minute break.
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Provide a snack and drink before beginning homework
Provide a snack and drink before beginning homework
Children often work better if they’ve had something to eat, so use health snacks like fruits, vegetables or cheese to help them focus. Giving them their own water bottle enables them to drink while working eliminates a need to get up.
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Set an example by working at the same time
Set an example by working at the same time
Catch up on your own paperwork during homework time – pay bills, write letters, send emails. Your child will see you focusing and completing work and will follow suit.
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Find a quiet area to do homework
Find a quiet area to do homework
Although you might want your child to do homework at the kitchen table where you can keep an eye on them, there are often many distractions making it hard for them to focus. See if there is an area close by where your child can work quietly with fewer distractions and you can still check on their progress.
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Be consistent in your homework policies
Be consistent in your homework policies
Keep up the same schedule every day – children with ADHD do well with structure and knowing what to expect.