If you’ve ever tried to sit and ‘do homework’ with a child with focusing issues, you very clearly understand the headline of this article. One hour of homework can very easily stretch into the three and four hour mark, straining both you, and your child physically and emotionally. Because children with attention issues obviously have limited attention spans and often have poor ‘executive functioning skills’ (worth Googling!), there are a few things you can do to help target these issues . Read on, to discover a few easy ways to stop the tears, arguing and frustrations…
Chunk, or break down assignments into smaller parts. If your child has a project, break it down into a few smaller to manage parts, and if possible, attempt to complete only one part per day, over several days. The same goes for homework; break it down by subject and remove anything that is not related to the ‘current’ subject area from sight. Placing books and materials into small cardboard boxes and then removing the completed work boxes to the corner or even completely out of the room gives a feeling of accomplishment and reduces the ‘overwhelming’ feeling associated with several tasks presented at once.
Set time limits! Think of your child’s brain as having an hourglass or battery at the center of it. There is only so much time that it can work continuously, particularly if they have a focusing issue. The problem most parents run into is that they require their children to continue working, despite having an empty hourglass or ‘brain battery’. Work then drags on with little to no progress. Instead, set time limits. This also turns the tables on the kids and removes the negative stigma around homework. By setting a time limit of say, ten to fifteen minutes, followed by a five minute play/exercise break, your child will likely be more efficient and productive over one hour, then they would be if they sat and begrudgingly struggled through the entire hour of continuous work. Break time should consist of something fun/stimulating, like building with Legos, mixed with something physical, like running the dog in the backyard.
It might sound crazy, but sometimes you have to slow down, to speed up! -Rich Brancaccio
I’d like to add that all of the blogs I write are based on my own personal experiences and opinions and do not reflect the opinion of any school system or professional organization. It is also important to realize that I am not an attorney and this does not constitute any sort of legal advice. For legal questions, seek a reputable lawyer specializing in educational law.