As teachers and parents, we know that homework time can be a daily struggle for all kids, but for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that challenge is especially painful. From knowing what and when to do an assignment, to focusing, completing the task at hand and organizing, children with ADHD require extra support at home. Throughout my teaching career, I have learned that I cannot possibly do it alone and parent involvement is critical in helping kids succeed. So, how can you as a parent/guardian help your kids at home so they can thrive in and outside the classroom?
Here are some tips that can help you set-up your child for success during homework time.
1. Create a Homework Space – Kids benefit from having their own special space to complete homework assignments. For the child with ADHD focusing is a challenging task in itself. So pick the perfect space that is both simple and practical – some things to consider for a good space is lighting, distraction level, and effective organization.
2. Limit Distractions – Children with ADHD get distracted by their surroundings easily. Finding the ideal spaces that are free from stimuli such as background noise, clutter and visual distractions. Limiting distractions is key to help kids focus and remain focused.
3. Simplify and Organize – One of the biggest challenges that children with ADHD face is organization. To help kids stay organized set systems in place to help them such as an agenda, color coded folders for different subjects, make checklists and create schedules, use an organizer at home for school supplies and have an organization system for their bookbags. Allocating a day or two a week to organize and clean up their book bags, folders and notebooks really goes a long way too. This will allow kids to stop and regroup in order to keep track of things.
4. Have Routines in place – There is something to be said about consistency. Consistency helps kids stay on track and to do so it is important to live by routines. This will help you provide your kids with structure and build good habits. You may want to create a daily plan, set timers and create a predictable environment.
5. Break Up Tasks into Manageable Tasks – Children with ADHD struggle to focus and self-regulate. One way to help them is to chunk up their tasks. It really helps to know your child and the length of time they can work for before they need a break. Use a timer to give them the opportunity to stretch and decompress. This also serves as a reminder of the time it takes them to get work done and serves as motivation to keep going.
6. Provide a Healthy diet, Encourage daily exercise, & Consistent bedtime routine –
- Healthy diet: Recent studies suggest a healthy diet may help kids with ADHD. To find out more here are some related articles.
- Exercise: Staying active helps kids burn excess energy. In addition, exercise is said to improve mental focus and support physical development.
- Consistent bedtime routine: Consistent bedtime routines provide structure to children. It is important for kids to get ample rest and allow themselves to decompress and be ready for a brand new day.