How to Help a Child with ADHD Do Homework

Three Methods:Preparing for Homework at SchoolHelping the Child at HomeStaying Positive and Supportive

Getting a child with ADHD to focus on their school work can be a challenge, especially if there are assignments, readings, and due dates involved. You can help a child with ADHD complete their homework with flying colors by introducing methods for learning at school and at home. You should also focus on staying positive and supportive of the child with ADHD so you both feel a sense of accomplishment when the homework gets done.

Method 1
Preparing for Homework at School

  1. 1
    Give the child ample time to write down the assignment. You can support the child with ADHD by giving them ample time to write down their homework assignments in their notebook. The child’s teacher should post the day’s assignments on the board and read them out loud to the class. Giving the child enough time to write down their homework assignments will ensure they are able to then process the information and bring their assignments home to work on.[1]
    • You may ask the teacher to hand out a typed assignment sheet to take home, especially if the child has attention deficits that make it difficult for them to copy down the homework in their notebook.
  2. 2
    Make them a folder for assignments. You can help the child stay on track at school by setting up a folder for completed assignments. This folder can be the place where the child puts the homework assignments to bring home. It can also be the place where they put assignments they have completed. Children with ADHD do well with these kind of physical reminders.[2]
    • If the child tends to forget to hand back in their assignments, their teacher can include a sheet for a parent to sign once the homework has been completed and packed in the child’s bag. This will serve as a reminder to the child’s parent to check that the homework has been done and is packed in the child’s school bag.
  3. 3
    Get the child two sets of books. Some children with ADHD forget to bring their school books home, which can make it more difficult for them to complete their homework. You can make sure this does not happen by arranging for your child to have two sets of school books, one for at school and one for at home. You may ask the child’s teacher to help you do this and arrange for the set of books to be kept at school.[3]
  4. 4
    Pair the child with a “study buddy.” You can talk to the child’s teacher about partnering them with another child in the class, or a “study buddy.” This will allow the students to check each other’s assignments and make sure they both get the right information for the homework.[4]
    • The “study buddy” system can help the child make sure they bring home the books they need for the assignment. It can also ensure the child with ADHD stays organized.
    • Another option is to get the child to join a homework club, where they spend time with other students and a tutor after school to get their work done. This can be useful if the child’s medication is still working after school and you want to keep them motivated to do their schoolwork.
  5. 5
    Set up an Individualized Education Program for the child. If you find the child is getting overwhelmed with their school assignments, you may set up an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the child. Talk to their teacher and/or the special education coordinator at their school about arranging for an IEP.[5]
    • You can then work with the child's teacher to modify the IEP so the child has less homework or a lightened workload. For example, as part of the child's IEP, maybe the teacher assigns only the odd-numbered math problems for the child or five homework questions instead of ten. This can help the child still learn and get their work done, without being overly stressed or frustrated.
    • You may also talk to the child’s teacher about spreading out the child’s assignments so they are not due all at once as part of the child's IEP. You may sit down with them and create a schedule of assignments that will fit the child’s abilities and time management skills. This can make the child feel less overwhelmed, but still get their work done.

Method 2
Helping the Child at Home

  1. 1
    Get copies of the child’s assignments. You can help your child do their homework at home by making sure you have a copy of the child’s assignments. You may have the child’s teacher email their assignments to you or make sure the assignment is in the child’s take home folder.[6]
    • Having your own copy of the child’s assignments will also allow you to read them over beforehand. You can then help the child with the assignment and break it into manageable chunks for the child.
  2. 2
    Establish a set homework time. Children with ADHD do well with constant routines and consistent scheduling. Set a homework time for the child at home so they know when it’s time to focus on school. Make sure the homework time is the same time every day so the child gets into a routine.[7]
    • You may set the homework time for right after school, especially if your child does well with staying in “school mode” at the end of the day. Or you may give the child a break after school and then prepare them for homework time ten to fifteen minutes ahead of time.
    • Some children do well with warnings a few minutes before homework time, such as reminders to “get their brain turned to homework” or “have their mind set to homework mode.”
  3. 3
    Create a homework spot. The child will likely be more motivated to do their homework if they have their own spot in the house to do their work. This could be an area in their room with a desk that is their homework spot. Or, you can designate a spot in the living room or the kitchen where they do homework.[8]
    • Keep the child’s homework spot stocked with school supplies, an extra set of school books, and folders for their assignments. You may also make sure they have a reading lamp and lots of writing utensils in their spot.
  4. 4
    Set up a schedule for homework. You should establish a schedule for homework for the child so they stay on track. Include short, five to ten minute breaks in the schedule so the child has time to recharge. You may write the schedule out on a board for the child to see or post it over their homework spot so they can stay motivated and focused.[9]
    • For example, you may block out the child’s homework in twenty minute chunks, followed by short breaks. You may schedule twenty minutes on the math homework, followed by a five minute break. Then, the next twenty minutes may be on social studies homework, followed by another five minute break.
    • You may also set a timer for twenty minutes and place it in front of the child so they stay motivated. Once the timer goes off, you may then allow them to take a five minute break to do something else.

Method 3
Staying Positive and Supportive

  1. 1
    Work with the child on their homework. Though you should encourage the child to work through their homework on their own, you should stay close by and offer any help or assistance when needed. You may answer any questions they may have about an assignment or review the assignment together to ensure the child knows what is expected.[10]
    • Try to encourage the child to come up with an answer on their own before you help them. You do not want to do their work for them or allow them to lean on you too much.
    • If you notice the child has reached their threshold, but they have not finished their work, do not try to force them to keep going. Speak to their teacher about assigning less work so the child can still get some work done.
  2. 2
    Set up a reward system. You can be positive and supportive of the child by setting up a system of rewards for their hard work. You may use snacks to encourage your child to stay on track, such as cut up fruit. Or you may allow them to do a fun activity once they have completed their homework.[11]
    • You can also use verbal praise as a reward. A simple “Great job!” or “Excellent!” can encourage the child to stay positive and focused as they do their assignments.
    • You should offer the child a reward if they get good grades on their homework. You may take them on a fun outing or get them an item they really want as a reward for doing well.
  3. 3
    Keep the child organized for school. You can keep the child motivated and positive about school by making sure they are organized. Pack their backpack with them the night before to make sure they have all their school books, supplies, and assignments together in their bag.[12]
    • You should also make sure they have put their completed homework in their bag so it is ready to turn into their teacher. This will ensure the homework ends up in the right hands and that the child gets graded by their teacher.

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Categories: Attention and Developmental Disorders