Advice for parents of ADHD kids


How often have you nagged your child to start their homework, only to see them sit down then jump up to sharpen a pencil. Then sit down for a minute before springing up to get a glass of water.  They do not do this to annoy you and maybe do not even realize they are delaying getting started.

Here are some ideas which may help your child get going on homework.

1. Consistent Homework Schedule

Have a regular time for homework and “cue” the start of homework in a standard way, for example by starting some suitable study music. Routine is so important for the ADHD student: having a fixed time for homework each day will ease the transition between free time and homework. Use music to signal the start of homework, preferably relaxing, non-vocal music. 

2. Remove Reasons to Get Up.

Put together a homework caddy which has all the school supplies your child might need, including scissors, pencils, pens, sharpeners, tape, blank and lined paper, etc.  If your child studies at the kitchen table, bring out the caddy as another cue, along with the music, that it’s time to start homework. If the child studies in their room, usher the child to their room along with a pitcher of water or lemonade so that they do not need to come back out to the kitchen.

The photo above is a homework kit idea from Project Inspired

3. A Nightly Planner

Often a child with ADHD may feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework and not know how to start. Something to try: have a small erasable whiteboard and at the start of the homework session, sit with your student and prompt them to write down what’s going on in each subject. Do they have a worksheet to complete? An upcoming test to study for? A project due next week that they should start planning? Help them prioritize what they will do tonight. You can withdraw as they get started on the first item.

If you can put these ideas into practice — or variations that work for you and your child — you’ll be building healthy homework habits and the executive function skill of initiation (getting started).  

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