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Tips for helping children with inattention and hyperactivity do their homework

Child psychologist from the Royal Children’s Hospital, Jo Winther, gives parents top tips for helping children with inattention and hyperactivity do their homework
While most children can find homework difficult, completing homework for children with inattention and hyperactivity can be especially challenging - as Melbourne mum Nicole and son Liam, 8, discovered.

“Liam’s inattention and hyperactivity makes it difficult for him to focus, and it affects both his school behaviour and ability to do homework,” she explained.

“It’s important to make the process of learning and homework as positive as possible for children with inattention and hyperactivity issues,’ says psychologist and Co-Head of The Royal Children’s Hospital CAMHS & Schools Early Action Program (CASEA) Ms Jo Winther.

“Parents can do this by clearly identifying the behaviours they want children to learn, providing reward systems and praise when they undertake homework.”

Ms Winther’s top tips to helping children with inattention and hyperactivity with their homework:

  • Create a clutter-free and dedicated study area to help them focus
  • In this area, display lists of homework tasks
  • Use visual aids to help rote learning
  • Diaries can help children prepare and plan their homework
  • Frequent breaks help children stay ‘fresh’ while studying
  • Consider whether before or after dinner is the best time for your child to do their homework
  • ‘Energy Out’ activities before homework help provide mental ‘space’
  • While studying, hyperactive children benefit from playing with something in their hands to manage excess energy

While working with teachers and specialists to help Liam manage his inattention and hyperactivity, Nicole also chose to enrol Liam into a clinical trial at Swinburne University investigating whether a natural medicine, already sold in pharmacies, may help boys with inattention and hyperactivity.

“The best of part of the trial is that it’s letting us be proactive in helping Liam - which is so important when you’re navigating the education and healthcare system in a very reactive way,” said Nicole.

for more information about Swinburne University’s natural medicine clinical trial for boys aged between 6 and 14 years with symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity