Help! My Kid Won’t Turn In His Homework!

By Karen DeBolt | 30th Jun 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Self Care, Techniques

I recently got a comment on my blog from a mom who is exhausted and requested some help for her son. First of all let me say how excited I got to get this comment from a reader! Please if you have any questions along these lines, please feel free to email them or post them as a comment on my blog and I will be happy to answer them on the blog, in the newsletter or by email. I am honored that you trusted me enough to write.

Here is the message:

“At almost 12 y.o (in July), my son still needs too much input from me to get anything done. He has trouble keeping track of his schedule: when he has tests and other school related due dates. Remembering to put on deodorant, losing assignments just between home and school. It is getting exhausting and I am running out of ideas.”

This particular question is one that I hear frequently at our ADHD parent support group I would say the seeming inability to turn in homework or remember to put on deodorant should be listed in the DSM V under the features of ADHD because it is so common amongst the children of the parents who attend our meetings.Anyway, the good news is that he will probably be able to remember his deodorant and keep track of his work assignments when he is 40 years old. The trick is getting from here to there without losing it yourself.

Many of our children don’t mature at the same speed as their peers. They need more specific training and repetition than other children in order to be successful—not because they are stupid or not capable or trying to drive you crazy, but because the way that his brain is wired is not conducive to those organizational tasks that seem so easy to us.

Working with your child’s neurology

So helping your child to set up a system of organization the works with the way his brain works is going to go a long way towards future success. For example, your child is likely a visual person, so out of sight out of mind is the literal truth. So, setting up a visual reminders is going to really make a difference in whether he remembers or not.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

For example, to help with remembering to turn in homework, set up a class binder with a clear sleeve in the front which will be where the homework goes. When your child arrives at his class and takes out his notebook, the home work will be there sitting in clear sight in the clear sleeve as a reminder to turn it in. The sleeve will keep the homework contained in one place. So, hopefully it won’t get jammed into the bottom of the backpack or the back of the locker never to be seen again. The trick is to teach him that the homework is not done until it is in the clear sleeve! If you are already rewarding your child at home for completing homework adding this step into the requirements will help to cement it as a habit.

I would recommend a similar system for his deodorant. By storing the deodorant in a place that he never forgets to look, it will serve as a reminder to be used. For example, don’t put it away in a drawer or cabinet. Again, out of sight is out of mind. Put it on top of a dresser or on the bathroom counter where it is in plain sight for him to use. Rewarding him for remembering will help it to become a habit over time.

Taking Care Of You

By teaching your child how to work with his own neurology, you will be able to help him to learn to be more independent over time. You may find that it takes your child longer to learn these skills and with more repetition. This is why is it so critical that you make sure to do your own self care so that you don’t get so exhausted. Sometimes I think just knowing that, “This too shall Pass,” helps to keep us going even when we are beyond exhausted. Also, getting support from other parents can be very helpful. Finding a local support group can help you to know that you are not alone and that there is hope that one day your child will remember to turn in his homework and use his deodorant every day.

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