10 Ways to Help a Child Study (or yourself) with ADHD
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There are a few things in life that are constant when it comes to raising boys: an empty fridge, full sink, lots of laughs and of course, homework. In our house we have a 6th grader in STEM Academy, a 4th grader in Gate and a 2 1/2 year old that can almost count to 10 and knows part of the alphabet. My husband has also finished his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy a couple years ago and I completed my Bachelors in Nursing while pregnant with my baby. We’ve seen A LOT of homework in this house and have had to learn tons of techniques to get everyone to remain focused. My middle son loves homework and so far has found all of it easy (thank goodness), he prefers to get the entire weeks worth of homework done in the first 2 days so he can spend the rest of the week reading his books and playing with his little brother. My oldest son and husband have had the hardest time focusing and we have had to work very hard to find methods to help them complete their homework and study in general. Without these tried and true techniques homework would never be completed and this Momma Bear would be super grumpy. The following are the top 10 study methods we use to help them focus
1.Make a list: We Have found that making a list is a life saver. It allows you to see everything in one place and mark it off as you complete. There is no better feeling that seeing your accomplishments completed in front of your eyes. I do it for everything, but find it especially useful for putting assignments from multiple classes in one easy to see place.
2. Noise vs. Silence: Everyone in my family needs different environments to read and study. So I would say find your favorite! I have an eclectic taste when it comes to studying, I like classical, soft christian music, bag pipes, or Christmas (don’t judge, it works). My oldest needs either silence or light music that he can’t see (so it can’t come from the tv). My middle likes movie music, or classical, (imagine the Empire Strikes Back or Lord of the Rings while studying) . My husband’s taste cracks me up the most, a true sign of ADHD. He prefers to watch streaming while he studies or completes homework. Streaming is composed of watching computer gamer’s play computer games live. Personally I would either get annoyed or mesmerized by the announcers and game, but he had straight A’s in college so I try hard not to judge.
3. Proper Work Space: This is another one that is different for each person, you might like a clean organized desk or an area with a lot of noise. We are each different as well. I say try it out, if a clean desk distracts you, try the dining table, or even the family room with the tv on. We are all made differently, use what works for you.
4. Refocus: Often times my oldest son gets distracted at the drop of a hat. We call it squerriling here (think Doug from the movie UP). We have found that taking a moment, shaking the sillies out, taking some deep breathes, looking at what needs to be completed helps the kids to refocus.
5. Breaks and Stretching: For my middle one this is a must, he’s my runner. He loves to run, and I mean 6-9miles a day if possible. He is super focused on homework and completes a weeks worth assignment in 2 days. But with all of this energy he is also drained by the time he gets home. During homework time the kids will take stretch breaks to give them a pause. It also helps to keep from getting sore muscles or for us older people muscle cramps, eye strain, numb limbs, and headaches. I try to schedule it about every 30min-hour. Find what works, maybe it’s 15 minutes or an hour, try it if you don’t currently do it, you’ll love it.
6. Snack: Another must after a whole day at school. We try to keep it healthy by having apple slices, ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins), grapes, or granola bars. This is little snack gives them the boost they need to make it through homework, but not to much to prevent them from eating dinner. I will do a future post on snacks that we include for homework.
7. Help/Assistance: If all else fails and you can’t figure out what to do, ASK! Whether it’s a family member, a friend, teacher or someone who knows the information you need. There is always someone who can help, you just need to ask.
8. Diffusing Essential Oils: In our house we diffuse essential oils to help the boys focus. It works great and they say that they notice a difference when they use it and when they don’t. We use Young Living because of their Seed to Seal promise, and I prefer to know where my stuff comes from and what is in it. They have a great oil for kids called GeneYus that smells pretty good also, I just add about 10 drops to the diffuser and turn it on. My oldest tells me all of the time that he feels he can focus better almost immediately. The other ones we use that work great for us are: Clarity, Valor, Lavender, and Citrus scents such as Tangerine, Lemon, and Grapefuit to make you feel more alert.
If you have ADHD you can add Vetiver and Cedarwood, it will help you focus. On the flip-side if you don’t have ADHD or problems focusing, those two oils will help you sleep like a baby. If you’d like to order any of these oils, please feel free to visit the Young Living site. We made my husband and oldest son a roller that has Patchouli, Valor, Vetiver, Lavender, and Cedarwood in it that they love and use daily.
9. Review: Review all of the homework, check for gramical and spelling errors. Also make sure all of the homework is complete, your list is checked off and everything is in a designated place so it won’t be forgotten when it’s time to turn in. If your studying for a test, make sure all of the topics are covered that are in the test.
10. Celebrating: It’s done! The homework is completed and in it’s designated area. Test studying is complete. Time to celebrate, do a happy dance, eat a cookie, if you’re old enough have some wine, if not have some hot cocoa. What ever it is, enjoy it, you deserve it!
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