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5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Focus on Homework

Focusing for sustained periods of time isn’t easy for everyone, and children in particular can face difficulties when given a task that doesn’t immediately capture their interest.
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5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Focus on Homework

21/09/2022
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Focusing for sustained periods of time isn’t easy for everyone, and children in particular can face difficulties when given a task that doesn’t immediately capture their interest. The ways in which parents, caregivers and teachers can approach helping children to improve their focus will largely depend on the child’s personality, as well as whether or not they are showing any signs of ADHD or other learning difficulties.

If you suspect your child is showing signs of ADHD, or if they already have an ADHD diagnosis, your approach to assisting them with their focus strategies may be different. At The ADHD Centre, our resources and expertise can support you in finding the most effective and appropriate ways to improve your child’s focus on their homework, and generally in educational settings.

This blog will cover some reasons as to why children with ADHD have difficulties focussing, as well as five useful ways you can try to support your child in improving their ability to sustain focus.

Why Can’t My Child Focus?

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Inattention is one of the main symptoms of ADHD, and this often means that children face difficulties concentrating on tasks both in school and at home. They will likely have a short attention span, become easily distracted and have trouble sticking to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming.

On the other hand, children with ADHD can also hyperfocus on certain things, meaning they find it difficult to draw their attention away. Typically, hyperfocussing will only occur during tasks that are particularly engaging or are visually stimulating, for example, a video game – but this can vary.

When it comes to schoolwork, unfortunately a lack of focus is the most common occurrence of the two, but by understanding the reasons behind it, parents and teachers can provide the right support.

In an ADHD brain, dopamine and noradrenaline tend to be lacking, meaning that arousal and attention levels are more difficult to sustain. A child with ADHD will typically need frequent, consistent stimulation in order to maintain a focus on a task, so repetitive question and answer structures that can sometimes be found in homework tasks are not so accommodating to these students.

5 Methods of Improving your Child’s Concentration with ADHD

Luckily, there are a number of ways that children can be supported to give homework tasks the most attention possible without becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. Below, we discuss 5 helpful tactics.

1. Be creative with homework tasks

For children who tend to lose focus easily, playing games or incorporating physical activity into homework assignments can significantly improve concentration, and make the learning more fun. Older children may respond better to things like crossword puzzles, whereas younger children may find that paying attention to visual stimuli such as bright imagery can encourage more concentration.

As a parent or teacher, try to incorporate new learning elements every so often into the teaching process. This will help the child focus more easily as each element can be seen as a new task, and is therefore approached in a different way.

2. Have a designated space for homework

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Keeping your child motivated to do homework can be difficult at the best of times, but by having a designated homework area, ideally away from distractions, it can be more straightforward. Help your child sit quietly by ensuring no loud noises or other distractions are nearby, such as large windows that will encourage the child to watch what is going on outside rather than completing the task at hand.

A designated area can also help improve focus skills as it will become recognised in the child’s brain as a space to be doing work and learning new skills. Over time, the child may learn to repeat positive behaviours, such as focussing, while they are in that space.

3. Break up study time into manageable chunks

Most children, including neurotypical children, have time limits as to how long they can maintain focus – that’s why school days are shorter than adult work days! With this in mind, giving a child smaller tasks is usually more effective. A small task that will take a child no longer than twenty minutes will likely be understood quicker and have more chance of success. A large task on the other hand, may have the opposite effect.

A child can easily become overwhelmed if they are presented with a complex task (just as an adult might). Therefore, breaking things down into smaller, more manageable pieces can facilitate better concentration and overall positivity about the task. This will also give the child a sense of achievement after completing each section, therefore motivating them to complete the next.

4. Stick to a consistent routine

Routines can be extremely valuable to children with ADHD, and making a consistent studying schedule can support your child’s ability to focus. Studying for an hour at the same time each day, with designated break times, for example, can help your child feel more in control of their own learning. This helps to boost their confidence and therefore enhances their ability to focus on their given tasks.

A child’s daily routine will also have an impact here. Making sure your child has enough sleep, for example, will mean they will have extra energy to help them concentrate more easily. Enjoying play with friends as well as family time can also support their learning, as they will be able to balance their downtime with their study time.

5. Use motivators and rewards

Rewards are a great way for a child’s teacher or parent to reinforce positive behaviours, such as completing homework assignments or maintaining concentration when a child typically has trouble focussing. They will help the child to identify their positive behaviours, encourage them to continue and also reassure them that they can successfully complete tasks.

Some Additional Tips from The ADHD Centre

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Communicating with your child about their difficulties can also support them in understanding the strategies you are putting in place to help them focus.

You may also wish to support them by learning to play focus games together, or taking the time for mindfulness. Even taking deep breaths before starting segments of a task can help many children to centre their attention and energy on the schoolwork at hand.

Understanding ADHD & Your Child’s Ability to Focus

If you suspect your child is showing signs of ADHD and would like to get them a formal assessment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team now. You can contact us on 0800 061 4276, or book a child ADHD assessment here, available online or face-to-face.

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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