Your child has just spent the last six hours at school trying hard to do his work and listen attentively to his teachers. You can see that he or she is tired, but you know there is a lot more work in that backpack. Let the homework battle begin!
We have all tried just about everything to get our kids motivated after school. For children, especially those with attention struggles, this can be a knock-down, drag-out process when it comes to homework.
So, "Take 5"!
This means chunking homework time into 20-minute segments with five-minute breaks in between. A mountain of homework can seem overwhelming to a child who just spent the entire day focusing on learning. Breaking down task time into smaller periods can sometimes be the motivation your child needs to get focused and back on track again.
This technique has proven to be successful with the students I work with as well as my son, who struggles with ADD. When he is at the homework table and ready to go, we set the timer for 20 minutes. He knows right away that there is a break in sight and he gets down to work. Many times, he is surprised when the timer goes off because it really didn't feel like 20 minutes. We set the timer again for five minutes and he can grab a snack, walk around the house, or check his phone. It is important that the break has nothing to do with demands. When the timer goes off, it is time to hit the books again.
When longer breaks are warranted...
If your child has more than one hour of work each night, try having him do three 20-minute segments and then provide a longer break, like 15-20 minutes, to avoid fatigue. My son is in high school now, so going outside to skateboard or spending time on his phone are his top long-break choices. What is important to remember is that our kids work hard like many of us do during the day. Think about how hard it is for a busy parent to come home from work and start working again. Kids feel the same way.
So, try breaking it down to avoid the break down!
Sandy Reader is a busy mom of two teens who loves cooking and entertaining with a great group of friends. Learn more about her work at Sutcliffe Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics here.