Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Create a homework station.

What you can do

Help your child create a homework station that’s separated as much as possible from siblings, pets, TVs and other distractions. Encourage him to think about the best way to set up this space and to talk it through with you.

Keep in mind that every child has a unique way of accomplishing this task. Kids also usually exhibit more “buy in” when they have had a true say in the process.

What you can say

“Jacob, I know you seem to be getting a lot more homework this year. It seems to be more difficult too. Maybe it’s time for us to find a space you can call your own. We can keep this space free of all the electronics and other stuff that keeps distracting you from your work.”

“Why don’t we clear a little space in the corner of my bedroom? We can put a desk there. You can decorate it and set up your new folder system where no one will bother it. We’ll make sure nobody else uses it or moves your homework materials. Let’s take a look at that space and see what you think.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues are easily distracted from their homework by pretty much anything nearby, whether it’s a TV show or a paper clip that is shiny and bendable and—well, you get the point. Eliminating distractions and working in a consistently set-up space will help immensely in making homework time more productive. So will having a place to store schoolwork and other organizational aids.

If everything is all right there in one place—materials, folders, etc.—ready to go each night, your child won’t need to spend any time searching. Instead, all your child will need to do is just settle down in familiar surroundings and start working.

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