If you are finding it more challenging than ever to get your child to focus on academics right now, you are not alone. With summer-like weather upon us and many weeks spent without a structured school schedule, kids with ADHD are struggling to focus on their schoolwork like never before.
This lack of focus is causing more frequent meltdowns and greater tension between parents and kids over schoolwork. And it’s not just the kids who are struggling to stay on task; parents are struggling, too. Everyone is finding it harder to stay motivated and stick to the routines and plans that were put into place weeks ago, when we all started staying home.
With a few more weeks of school remaining, what can you do to keep your kids engaged and on task with remote learning? The most effective strategy involves only two steps: (1) breaking longer academic “periods” down into shorter chunks of time and (2) alternating these short bursts of academic work with fun and engaging activities. You could also consider requesting reduced assignments from your child’s teacher. Shorter assignments (e.g. only completing every other problem on math worksheets) and other forms of reduced work are a common accommodation for kids with ADHD who have 504 and IEP plans.
Adjusting your child’s schedule so that it includes less time spent on academics can seem counter-intuitive if you already feel like they are not getting enough learning through their school’s remote education programming. But it’s important to think about quality rather than quantity right now. For example, let’s say you have three 30-minute periods blocked out for academic time for a total of 90 minutes each day. If your child is struggling to focus and is doing anything and everything they can think of to avoid schoolwork, then they may actually only be engaged in learning for about 15 of these 90 minutes. The rest of the time is spent on procrastination, daydreaming, meltdowns, and negotiations with their parents.
If, in place of three 30-minute blocks, you adjust the schedule to include four 10-minute blocks of academic time, your child may actually spend more time learning over the course of the day. Kids with ADHD are able to focus, stay on task, and sustain motivation much more effectively when they do their work in shorter bursts. So, if they get to work and stay on task for 10 minutes four times a day, they will actually spend 40 minutes learning each day.
To make sure your child gets the most out of each block of academic time, take the following steps:
Keeping a child with ADHD engaged in remote learning programs isn’t easy, but these simple changes to your child’s schedule will help. Shorter blocks of academic time and rewards for staying on task may be just what your child needs to stay motivated during the final weeks of the school year.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.