Health Education

How to Help Teens with ADHD Focus on Homework

How to Help Teens with ADHD Focus on Homework

Homework time can be a struggle for any teenager, but it is often especially challenging for students with ADHD. Fortunately, there are many ways to make homework time more manageable for children with ADHD and their parents.

If your child is taking medication to help him with focus and concentration, you obviously want to have him doing his homework while the medication is still working. It is important to make observations about the duration of the medication. If it is clearly worn off by the time that he is starting his homework, the best choices are to either do homework earlier or ask your doctor to extend the medication duration.

Work with your child to select the best time for homework. Many teachers are now providing some class time to finish homework and most kids have figured out that the more they finish in class, the less they’ll have to do at home. For any work that remains, the best time is usually right after school or just before dinner.

Organization of space and place:

You cannot remove an ADHD child from all distractions. Even if you take away all visual and auditory stimuli, he is left with the infinite set of internal distractions—his own thoughts and body sensations. Some options to consider:

He may do best in his bedroom, or may do best in a more “public” space, such as the kitchen table. Having people in the area quietly doing their own thing often helps to reduce distractibility.

  • Does he have a chair that is neither uncomfortable nor too comfortable?
  • The TV must be off, but many children do best with quiet music in the background.
  • Until homework is complete, turn off phone and avoid checking all social media.

Most teachers are now recommending some type of planner for all children. This is especially important for those with ADHD. Not only will a planner help your child structure his time and activities, it will also help him to learn how to use this invaluable tool for the rest of his life.

There should be a designated space in the binder for all completed homework. I recommend a brightly colored folder specifically labelled: “Homework To Hand In”. This way, if your student forgets to hand in his work in one class, he may notice it when he takes out his homework for the next class.

As your child begins to have more success with his homework, be sure to let him know your pride in his accomplishment. Praise and positive reinforcement go a long way!