Homework has always been a struggle for my nine-year old daughter. To her, completing her homework can feel like torture. What may take another child 30 minutes to complete takes my child one hour or more. It is not because she is unintelligent, lazy, or defiant. It is because she has ADHD.
Growing up, I always completed my homework as soon as I got home from school, so I expected the same from my daughter. However, I did not take into account that my daughter’s day at school would be much different than mine was at her age. Every day at school, she tries her best to sit still and focus as best she can, yet she still makes mistakes, loses track of time, and gets corrected by her teachers. The last thing my child wants to do when she gets home is complete even more schoolwork.
My daughter works extremely hard in school and gets excellent grades – and it requires a tremendous amount of her focus, time, and energy, much more so than a neurotypical child. So now when my daughter gets home from school, I let her take a much needed and well deserved break. She usually has a snack and then plays Minecraft on her iPad. This break not only allows my daughter to rest and recharge, it also serves as a reward for her hard work at school that day.
After her break, my daughter is ready to complete her homework. Although she doesn’t enjoy homework and probably never will, she understands that it a responsibility of hers that her ADHD can’t get her out of. She often also needs to take breaks while she is doing her homework as well, but these breaks look more like stretching and or taking a walk. It is important for her to not use her ADHD as an excuse to try to get out of her responsibilities and to recognize when she needs a break, but more importantly, to not be ashamed of needing a break.
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