At a glance
Many kids with ADHD rush through homework.
Trouble with organization and time management are often a factor.
There are strategies families can use to help kids with ADHD stop rushing through assignments.
All kids rush through homework once in a while so they can get to the things they’d rather be doing. But for kids with , rushing can be an ongoing challenge that results in sloppy, incorrect, or incomplete work.
Kids with ADHD often struggle with things like organization, planning, and time management. (These are called .) They can affect everything from how long kids can hold on to information to how well they can monitor their own work. Medication can also play a role.
Here are some of the most common reasons kids with ADHD race through their homework assignments.
During the school day, kids with ADHD often pour all of their energy into concentrating and trying to meet multiple demands — academic, behavioral, and social. By the time they get home, they may be mentally and physically drained. Tackling homework without an afterschool break can cause them to rush through it simply because they don’t have the energy to focus.
Some kids who take medication for ADHD may come home from school and suddenly be very tired, restless, or sluggish. If their medication is working well at school, they may be experiencing medication rebound. As the medication wears off, it can lead to a “crash” that can last for a short time or for several hours. If that seems to happen on many days at the same time, a child’s prescriber may be able to adjust the medication.
Trouble holding on to information
Kids with ADHD may find that their thoughts move more quickly than their ability to capture them in words. For example, a history assignment may ask kids to explain the causes of the Civil War. Kids with ADHD may have a good understanding of the causes but might not be able to hold on to their thoughts long enough to organize and expand on them. Instead, they might scrawl their answers down as fast as possible before they lose their train of thought. That can mean incomplete or even incorrect responses.
Poor time management skills
When kids with ADHD have multiple assignments, they may have trouble gauging how much time to spend on each one. They also may hyperfocus on one task and then have difficulty moving on to the next. Having spent an hour on one assignment, they might speed too quickly through their remaining homework.
Difficulty staying interested
Kids with ADHD often tune out quickly when tasks involve doing the same thing over and over. Research shows that people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine in their brains. This can make it hard for them to deal with tedious work. Faced with a worksheet of 25 very similar math problems, for instance, kids with ADHD may zoom through them carelessly because they’re bored.
Not doing well in school can wear kids down and make them lose confidence. Over time, they may come to believe that no matter how hard they try or how much they study, they still won’t get a good grade. If kids believe that the outcome will be the same whether they spend 20 minutes or two hours on homework, they might not feel it’s worthwhile to take the time to do a careful job.
Kids with ADHD often have learning differences as well, like , , or . So on top of the challenges that ADHD presents, they may struggle with the work itself. As a result, they may rush through homework just to get it over with.
Difficulty with self-monitoring
For kids with ADHD, doing homework may seem endless. So the idea of sitting even longer to check over their work for mistakes can be unbearable. They may also think it’s OK to just turn in their first effort. This can be a bigger problem if they know their homework will just be checked off as completed, rather than be graded.
Rushing leads to sloppy, incorrect, or incomplete homework.
Kids with ADHD often also have learning differences that can make homework so difficult that they rush just to be done with it.
A medication “rebound” effect can make some kids get very tired or sluggish after school. Fine-tuning ADHD medication can help.
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About the author
About the author
Kate Kelly has been writing and editing for more than 20 years, with a focus on parenting.
Rayma Griffin, MA, MEd has spent 40 years working with children with learning and thinking differences in the classroom and as an administrator.