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Homework and ADHD - How Can I Get My Son To Focus On His Homework?

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Updated August 04, 2008

Homework and ADHD - How Can I Get My Son To Focus On His Homework?
Question: Homework and ADHD - How Can I Get My Son To Focus On His Homework?

"My son, who has ADHD, is in 9th grade at high school. My wife and I usually arrive home late. He likes to constantly take a break between doing homework or working on special projects and Internet computer games. He says that doing homework is boring. We tell him that as soon as he completes his homework he can relax and play games. The problem also is that he does not like to wear a watch, so he does not know how much time he takes to relax such as getting a glass of water, eating a snack or reading a book. What do you advise?"

-About.com User

Answer:

Homework and ADHD

I love timers. Does your son do his homework at the kitchen table? Have him set the timer on the microwave or the oven. He can even try an egg timer and take it with him to where ever he does his homework. Most kids do need a little break when they get home from school, though if he gets immersed in a computer game or in a good (non-homework) book, it can be really hard to stop…especially if an adult isn’t there to prompt and redirect him.

Talk with your son about setting a timer for 30 minutes when he gets home from school. During that time he can fix himself a snack and relax with a little music, if that is something he enjoys. When the timer goes off, it is homework time.

Some kids do work best with periodic short breaks during homework time. If this is the case with your son, talk with him about setting up a system using the timer.

Once he is ready to start homework, he can set the timer again for 30 minutes. During that time, he will work on his homework until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, he can get up and take another little break. Have him set the timer again for the break period. Perhaps the break will last 10 minutes…once the timer goes off again; it is time to refocus on homework for another 30 minutes.

I am just throwing out times. You and your son can sort out what works best for him. The point is, he can use a timer to help him keep focus on the time that is passing during the break periods and to help him stay on track with homework.

If your son is on medicine and he notices that he has more trouble focusing in the late afternoon when it is homework time, you can talk with his doctor about trying to schedule one of the dosages of medications later in the day to help during the homework hours. Just be careful that he doesn’t take the medicine too late or it may interfere with his sleep.

Related Reading: Homework Strategies

Photo © Microsoft

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