So the first week of school has come to a close. For most kids the routine of homework and studying is not in full swing yet. That makes this the perfect time to get a head start and set your student up for success. A common story heard from almost all ADHD households is how much homework is disliked.
Most families can easily remember the endless nagging, arguing, searching for missing assignments, and endless hours of wasted time that lead to utter frustration. Your student is smart and capable. You see that they aren’t reaching their potential. And the daily homework battle is a constant reminder of your child’s challenges and struggles.
It is absolutely no fun taking on the job of nagging and prodding your child on a daily basis. You don’t want to hear it, your child doesn’t want to hear it, and it really isn’t helping them in the long run. This will probably lead to larger battles and more trouble in the long run, as homework resentment builds up.
Setting up for Success
What your child will really benefit from is having their parent set up routine and structure so that they can improve their executive function ability. The goal is for them to complete their homework, independently, without the nagging. The parents’ role is to ask questions, provide guidance, and support. So you may be asking “How do I do this?”
What you do not want to do each year is wait and see how it goes. This is not taking a very proactive approach, and you want to be able to set your student up for success. Make a plan before the school year starts, and then adjust as the year goes on.
Talk with your child about what worked last year and what did not. Discuss what needs to change this year. Remember that no parent or child loves the constant nagging or arguing during homework.
Here are some practical organizing tips:
- Sunday night should be a time to get set up for the week. Plan out the week activities, discuss upcoming assignments, know which days are gym or instrument days.
- Homework folders for all ages are really helpful. In middle school teachers will not often set them up, but you can do so at home. Incoming assignments go on one side, completed assignments go on the other.
- Have a staging area in the house where your child can lay things out at night for the morning. This includes a packed backpack, lunch, shoes, gym bag, instrument, sports equipment. In the morning it will be a big relief to not run around looking for shoes!
Set up a homework routine
Homework routines are important but it is not a one size fits all. I recommend having several areas throughout the house that can accommodate a child doing homework. This can be in the kitchen, in a study or other quiet room, maybe a spot on the porch. Sometimes a change of scenery for a child will help them complete the assignment. I often find that having your child have a snack first helps to boost their mood and blood sugar. Burning off some energy with a short playdate can also help them to focus later on for homework. Have your child reflect on what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t. They should be part of creating a routine.
Squirmy, restless kids
For the child who just cannot sit still to do their homework, do not embarrass and point out the negative behavior. Instead try and redirect that energy. The spinner fidgets have been all the rage this year, but there are many other types of fidgets. Take some time to research and try different types to see what type of sensory input would be helpful.