Seven Tips for Smooth Sailing with Homework!

School has started in most places. Morning routines are getting fleshed out. Reasonable bedtimes are taking on increased importance. Homework is starting gradually, too. This begs the question: 

How prepared are you to face the challenge of managing daily homework?

AD/HD can make for choppy seas when homework time rolls around, no question about it.
clipart picture of a capsized sailboat Frustration, impatience, you name it!                       
But, grab the tiller!! 

Here are seven strategies   for steering your family toward smooth sailing in the new school year!

(NOTE: this post draws from an article I wrote for the September newsletter for the Chesapeake ADHD Center which can be accessed at: )

Here’s how to steer your family into smooth seas:

1. Decide with your child on a set time for homework.
Is right after school best, or are exercise and a snack important first? Does after dinner work, or is fatigue an issue? When is it quiet at home? When are you available to help if needed? Try to stick to a routine.

2. Decide on a set place for homework.
Does it need to be near you? Does it need to be a quiet place?
Or does your child work better moving from place to place? Should the chair be soft, firm, or moveable, like a rocker or yoga ball? Or, does your child prefer to stand?

3. Organize school supplies near your child’s workplace.
Buying extra supplies and keep supplies at the ready in a drawer or small box can reduce the time spent searching before starting homework. Consider having your child sharpen pencils AFTER homework so they are ready for the next day. 
4. Prepare for homework with some exercise, outdoor time, and a healthy snack.  
Letting your child burn off steam from a long school day can help recharge the batteries for homework. A healthy snack will boost energy for attention to the task ahead.
5. Use a timer or a watch with an alarm to assist focus.
Try having your child predict how long an assignment will take and then try to match or beat the estimate. If you keep track of accuracy, child will improve at estimating time requirements. A visual timer, such as the Time Timer, can help your child “see” time passing.  

6. Plan in regular movement breaks.
Depending on the child and his/her age, movement breaks every 10 – 60 minute can re-energize and assist with focus. Jumping jacks, push-ups, running outside the house, or your child’s favorite can all work.  Use a timer to keep the break to 5 or 10 minutes.

7. Plan in a regular backpack check.
Daily, review your child’s work for completion, sign any notes, and have your child pack up for the next morning. Weekly, sort through the backpack to organize and clean out as needed. Designate a spot for the backpack – near the door is good – and make sure it is put there every night. 
When you’ve put these strategies in place, Make time to celebrate a job well done! Focus on your child’s specific successes each day, rather than failures, in order to build self-esteem and encourage further progress in making homework a positive experience. And, give yourself a pat on the back for your good parenting work, too!
Best wishes for smooth sailing with homework in the coming school year!  

clipart picture of sailboats sailing at sunset

Need more help around homework issues, or with other aspects of organizing life at home? A coach can help! Contact me for a free introductory session:
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