Saturday, September 22, 2012

Simple Homework Tips for ADHD

Some parents have reported improvement in the management of their children's ADHD with specifically modified diets and/or the addition of nutritional supplements. Other parents have somewhat reluctantly decided on medications recommended by their children's pediatricians to help with focus and attention in school. However, there is a strong possibility that vitamins B12 or B6 and even prescribed medications may not be able to do EVERYTHING to help your child with ADHD.

We often like to mention that it is always a good idea to begin managing attention issues with simple strategies, tips and tools to help your child achieve and maintain more focus and follow-through, especially when a he is challenged with ADHD. Special strategies can be particularly important when the topic of homework is presented. Parents often ask us, "What tips do you recommend for the 'homework wars' we face on many weeknights?" or "Do you have a good list of ideas to help my child complete all his needed assignments?"

To help answer these questions, we are listing here some good but simple strategies and tips to help your child challenged with ADHD---and you!

Helpful Homework Strategies and Organizational Tips for ADHD

1. First of all, a daily homework or assignment notebook is key. Make certain that your child has one from the first day of a new term. Some schools provide this automatically as part of the curriculum materials for their students. If this is not the practice at your child's school, it will be a very good investment to purchase one for him.

2. “Gently” request of your child’s teacher that she "sign off" in his assignment notebook at the end of each day (like a double check that all needed work is listed and materials are in the backpack). This is considered an “accommodation” for children with attention challenges and/or organizational issues. If your child is currently enrolled in a departmental program, each teacher may need to be asked for this accommodation after each class.

Many schools will provide this described accommodation if kindly requested. There are some school districts, however, that will require an IEP to be in place before this accommodation to be provided. In still other districts, online access to homework assignments is available to parents. Yet, even this technology cannot ensure that your child will have brought home the needed books and other materials for the work to be completed.

3. Prepare a dedicated place for your child to study each evening (without the presence of “entertainment” tech devices). Yes, a computer may be necessary for homework, but provide appropriate rules for its use---ahead of time. Make sure that all supplies and materials are at-hand to prevent excessive “wandering” and other distractions.

4. Use Post-It notes at eye level in the study space (or elsewhere for other chores/jobs). They can serve as very good, VISUAL reminders of tasks still needing attention and follow-through. You might even suggest a different color note for each subject or other description. It can be somewhat “satisfying” for your child to take down and tear up a sticky note for a homework assignment or job well done.

5. Allow your child to have a few breaks and some physical movement before, during and after homework sessions. A brief walk outside for just 5 minutes or so can be all that is needed to re-focus and study even more effectively upon return.

6. Have all items needed for school prepared and ready the EVENING BEFORE a school day:
a. Set the breakfast table each weeknight for the next school day. Even place the cereal boxes (unsweetened, of course) within reach there.
b. Ask your child to put all assignments and supplies inside his back-pack and then you can CHECK to see that all is packed away as needed. The back-pack should then be placed near the exit door.
c. Choose and lay out (or hang up) all school clothing within reach in your child’s room.

7. Remember to INVOLVE your child in each of the above preparations, teaching him to think ahead, helping him develop good organizational skills and enabling him to see that good habits like these can result in much more academic success for him---and PEACE at home!

8. To see a FREE printable list of MORE strategies for both home AND the classroom, please visit

We hope that you will try the strategies described here with your child. They could make a real difference in your child's academic success this school year.

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image Provided by Classroom Clipart


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I have a nephew that is having a hard time with his ADHD and reading has always been an issue. I am passing this on to his Mom, but I really needed to learn a little bit more about it myself so that I can understand it better. Thanks again,

  2. Dear Jessica,

    I certainly appreciate your message here. Your nephew is fortunate enough to have an aunt who is personally interested in learning more about his reading, learning and homework struggles. Also, it is evident that you want to help by sharing information with his mother---excellent!

    You might also wish to take a look at other ADHD articles in this blog. They may offer assistance as well.

    Sometimes, it takes an extended family member to offer support when ADHD or other learning challenges affect a child. Please continue to help provide this moral and informational support to your nephew's family. One day, he may thank you for it, Jessica.

    Thanks again for writing. We wish your nephew---and you---all the best in learning how to best manage his symptoms and learning challenges associated with ADHD.

    Joan Brennan

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