Homework Help for the ADHD child- Part 1

Homework Battles

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.

Homework Police

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?”

Organize

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

Next up, Part 2– Getting started, estimating time, and procrastination

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Fast breakfast for school mornings

Breakfast bars and breakfast cookies to the rescue.

With the school year about to get under way, my stress level begins to skyrocket.  There are a million reasons why, but one of the most basic is how do I get a nutritious breakfast into my child so they can be at their best for learning.  This is mostly an issue with one of my children.  That one child doesn’t want to wake up, ever. Anything beyond the novelty of the first day often deteriorates into me screaming, or willing myself to not go into the bedroom repeatedly and let her suffer the consequence of missing the bus.

Here’s the best part, the bus is coming 10 minutes earlier this year.  The response I got when mentioning this was, “Oh it’s only 10 minutes, no big deal.”  I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes because the bus is now rolling in at 7:17, and she generally gets out of bed at 7:05 on a good day.

So beyond running around like crazy to look presentable, making sure she has her bag and viola, she has to eat something.  Anything, well not really anything.  I have come to love making breakfast bars and breakfast cookies.  They pack a pretty great nutritional punch, as I can throw lots of powerhouse ingredients in to help sustain her energy throughout the morning.  They are also easy to pack for her after school activities, and this way she is not tempted to buy items from the vending machine.

I have rounded up several of my favorite recipes breakfast bar and cookie recipes.  The best part of any breakfast cookie and bar recipe is that they can easily be modified.  You can switch regular flour for whole wheat, add flax seed, wheat germ, chia seeds, various dried fruit that your children enjoy, a little bit of chocolate usually helps, rolled oats instead of quick oats, you get the idea.  And I’ll be the first to admit that everyone in the house ends up snacking on these bars and cookies, not only at breakfast, and I’m totally okay with that.

Cheers to a great school year!

Pumpkin breakfast cookie

Chocolate chip zucchini bread cookies

Healthy oatmeal breakfast cookies

Healthy carrot cake oatmeal breakfast cookies

Apple cinnamon oatmeal breakfast cookie

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