It’s not easy for most people to study. It’s an even bigger challenge for those who have ADHD. Those with ADHD have an interest-based nervous system which means they’re less attentive to tasks that aren’t stimulating the brain. This makes studying especially difficult for children with ADHD.
Here are some strategies that can make studying less of a challenge:
1. Remove distractions. Most of us are easily distracted these days, especially when it comes to boring tasks. Those with ADHD are even more susceptible to distractions. It’s worth the effort to create a place to study that is as devoid of distractions as possible. Sometimes this means joining a homework club at school, or finding a room in the house where it’s easier for your child to concentrate.
2. Fidget Toys Here are some of my favourite fidget toys for children with ADHD… dimples, POP IT, blue tack and squeeze beans. If your child intends to use these at school, make sure to inform your child’s teacher beforehand. One of the children I work with finds it easier to do her homework using multicolour sharpie pens. She finds the bright colours stimulating as she writes each answer in a different colour.
3. Take regular breaks. Children with ADHD need to have something to look forward to. What better thing to look forward to than taking a break? This is why ADHDers are more likely to focus better in 10-minute shifts with a 15 minute break in between. This may seem disruptive, but if the child knows they have a break coming up, they’re more likely to put in the effort in short bursts.
4. Have something to eat. ADHDers are more sensual than neurotypicals. Chewing gum or suckling on a lollipop is something that helped me when I was younger. It was something I continued to do all the way up to university. I’m far more stimulated by my sense of taste which helps me to focus. Sometimes I’ll snack on a bowl of olives or some pretzels.
5. Try taking a shower. Another child I work with finds it useful to have a shower as soon as he arrives home from school in the evening. This helps him shift his mindset to focus mode and sets the tone for getting started with his homework.
6. Schedule study time. Have a schedule or routine that your child can stick to. I write a to-do list every night before I go to bed to give me structure for the day ahead. A routine is highly beneficial for ADHDers who need structure to their day. Some children benefit from designing their own personalised checklist or homework schedule and pinning it up on the fridge.
If your child continues to struggle, you may want to consider getting in touch with an experienced professional or coach. The right one-to-one support can make the world of difference.