When you have kids, there are some things you take for granted, like them doing their homework (not counting the occasional blips of saying the dog ate it). I am a mother of three kids in elementary school, a 6th grader, 4th grader and one in Kindergarten and I will admit that I have taken my kids for granted at one time or another. My middle son has ADHD. He is on medication and because of that, has done pretty well in school and has often been one of the top students in his class. Even with his ADHD, I started taking him for granted so imagine my surprise when I heard from my 4th grade son’s teacher that he hadn’t done his homework for two weeks.
I went through the usual guilt trip of how I could have missed him not doing homework for that long of a time. I had inquired if he had any but never checked out his backpack. My excuse was a poor one. I had been working nonstop on plans for an event that was going to be at his school and hadn’t followed through with him.
My son was diagnosed with ADHD around five years ago. Even though it has been that long, there are still things that I don’t understand about ADHD. It took some extra care but my son got back on track with his homework. Here are some ways I got him to do his homework again that may work for you.
#1: Ask if there is Homework and Insist on a Reply
My son’s meds wear off right when he comes home. I no longer give him afternoon meds because we never found one that worked good for him. So when he comes home, he literally bounces all over the place. I have him come right by me and ask point blank, “Do you have homework?” Everyday after school, ask if your child has homework. Don’t accept some noncommittal shrug or answer. My son is famous for the shrug /mumble answer. Confirm if your child has homework or not with a simple yes or no reply. If you feel that your child may not be telling you the truth, ask to see inside their backpack or speak with their teacher.
#2: Make a Homework Area
Getting your ADHD child to do or finish their homework will be easier if you have a set space they can do it in. Let them use a desk, a tray or the kitchen table. They need their own space, free of distractions to get their schoolwork done. My son needs an area that doesn’t have a lot of stuff cluttering it because his minds starts wandering off what he is supposed to be focused on. I also make sure the TV is off so he can have complete silence.
#3: Few Minutes of Downtime & a Snack
Instead of having your child do homework the second they get home, give them a few minutes of downtime to relax after a long day of school. Let them enjoy a snack, a drink and to rest their eyes for a moment before rushing in to do more school work. One of the things that I hate about my son’s medication is that it makes him not as hungry during the day. He gets hungry right when he gets home from school and he is not able to think as clearly on an empty stomach. Having a satisfied tummy allows him to devote more time to his work.
#4: Check their Work
Some kids may get so tired of their homework that they will rush to finish and will get it wrong and some kids may even say that they finished it when in reality they didn’t finish or start it at all. This is especially true with ADHD children. Sometimes my son’s homework doesn’t even seem to make sense or his handwriting is so terrible that no one on earth would be able to read it. Establish a rule where you always check their homework. Have them bring it to you daily. This lets your child know that they can’t get away with not doing it the right way. If my son needs to correct something, I have him do it.
#5: Offer Help with Homework
Let your child know that you are there to help them if they do not know how to do something with their homework. ADHD children get frustrated more easily. My son will sometimes storm off in tears or anger if he doesn’t understand something. I have to follow him to tell him that it’s OK if he doesn’t understand something and that I will help him the best I can. If you find that you don’t know how to do the homework that they are working on, find someone else to assist them like a friend or family member. You can even look on the internet for instructions on how to do many different subjects that your child may be working on.
In time, your ADHD child will be used to doing homework. They may still moan and groan about it but they will be on an established routine. Always check it though or you may find that you’re back to square one with them not doing it again.