My child has ADHD. How can I make homework easier?

Article at a Glance

  • ADHD means kids learn differently, so different strategies are needed. 
  • Counter-intuitive moves like more breaks, wearing headphones, or racing can help. 
  • Play to your child’s strengths and be flexible within a consistent framework. 

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by symptoms such as inattentiveness, lack of impulse control, and/or excessive movement, such as fidgeting. As of 2016, an estimated 6.1 million children were diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. An ADHD diagnosis does not mean that a child cannot be successful, though. When it comes to tasks such as homework, finding the strategies and tricks that work for your individual child makes all the difference. Here are some strategies to try if homework is an area of struggle. 

Try Alternative Seating 

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by symptoms such as inattentiveness, lack of impulse control, and/or excessive movement, such as fidgeting. As of 2016, an estimated 6.1

  • If your child typically sits at a table/desk, try setting them up in a different area or with different furniture, such as a beanbag chair or a futon.  
  • If weather permits, try letting them do homework outside.  
  • Pair the workspace with a favorite blanket or pillow.  

Headphones Are an Anti-distraction Tool 

  • Playing music might help focus attention on the homework task at hand. 
  • Noise canceling headphones might help limit distractions. 
  • If headphones bother them, allow them to play the background noise of choice during homework time. 

Fidget Toys are Your Friend 

  • Fidget spinners and other toys can help with sitting still long enough to complete the homework task. 
  • A variety of textures may also be helpful. 

Break it Up 

  • Schedule regular breaks during homework time 
  • Allow your child some input with how frequently the breaks are scheduled 
  • Do not be afraid to adjust the schedule if the breaks are occurring too frequently or not frequently enough 
  • Make sure breaktime activities are meaningful to them 

Use Timers as Finish Lines

  • Set a timer for each homework schedule. If your child is old enough, have them set the timer. 
  • For extra fun, have your child select a non-digital timer to use during homework time. 

Make it a Contest 

  • Appeal to a competitive nature by setting homework challenges such as “See if you can finish reading this chapter before your break.” 
  • Participate in the challenges with them by letting them “assign” you a task to complete in the same amount of time. 
  • Celebrate completed challenges together. 

Set Up a Routine 

  • Start homework at the same time every evening. 
  • Organize materials prior to beginning a task. 
  • Establish a homework order based on your child’s preferences. For example, “I know you hate Social Studies, so let’s do that first and get it out of the way/let’s do that last and get everything else done first.” 

Be Consistent 

Not every strategy will work for every child, but once you find the strategy or combination of strategies that work, stick with them. Make the living room corner with the beanbag chair and fuzzy blanket the homework spot if that’s where they work best. If 12.5 minutes is the ideal amount of time per homework session, set the timer for 12.5 minutes every time. Make sure that breaks are the same length. Establish a homework routine and go through the steps every time. Participate in homework tasks as much as you are able when appropriate. For older kids, check in regularly with them.  

ADHD complicates homework tasks, but it does not have to keep your child from being successful. Finding effective strategies will make a world of difference for both you and your child. 

Reviewed on October 12, 2021 by: Bryan Weed, M.D.
Bryan Weed, M.D.
Board-certified Pediatrician

After completing his undergraduate degree in Business Management, Dr. Weed moved to Pennsylvania to study Medicine. While he tried to keep an open mind about a specialty, he noticed that pediatric rounds were always his favorite.

Vineyard Office
Full Bio

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