Homework & Studying

16 Productive Reactions to “I Don’t Want to Do My Homework!”

ADDitude recently asked parents of students with ADHD, “What are your most effective strategies for avoiding homework arguments?” Read through these insightful answers for homework strategies you haven’t tried.

Illustration of a child frustrated by his homework.

“I don’t want to do my homework!” This is a rallying cry parents hear all too often from children of all ages. And the exclamation often ends the same way – in shouts, tears, temper flare-ups, and exhaustion for all involved.

If you’re running out of ideas (and energy) to get your child to do their homework with no push-back, scan these tips from ADDitude readers and find new, effective strategies for avoiding school work arguments.

How to Avoid the Homework Wars

1. “Doing homework is part of the chores on our son’s reward chart. This is one of the hardest tasks to get him to do, so we have assigned it the highest point value.” – Kate, Hampstead, Maryland

2. “Giving them instant gratification of some kind before, during, and after homework will keep their dopamine at reasonable levels.” – An ADDitude Reader

3. “A detailed checklist makes things much easier, because instructions are not just words in one ear and out the other. The process can be seen.” – Heidi, Magna, Utah

[Click to Read: The Homework System That Really Works]

4. “We shut down the WiFi and take their phones.” – Francois, San Rafael, California

5. “Give the kids the power to do their homework on their own terms and let them face the consequences. It’s their work, not mine. “ – S.W., Brandon, Mississippi

6. “We do homework as soon as he gets home, and he is still in the ‘school zone.’ I sit beside him and tell him to ask me if he needs.” – An ADDitude Reader

7. “I remind my son that he feels better doing other things when his homework is done. I also remind him that homework helps to connect the dots and helps us know what questions we may have.” – Stacy, Cary, North Carolina

[Read: Scripts to End Every Homework Fight]

8. “Being a special education teacher, I used the same accommodations at home that most students with ADHD should have as part of their IEP/504 Plan, such as extended time, modified instructions, audio books, and more.” – Shawn, Sunset, Utah

9. “We allowed her to prioritize what gets done and have talked with teachers about what’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes, we played games with the content instead of the way the teacher wanted it done. In all, good communication with teachers on homework alternatives is the best. It stopped the under-the-table screaming episodes.” – An ADDitude Reader

10. “Once fighting or arguing starts, homework goes away to be dealt with later. I’m also a teacher, and I tell families the same thing. School work is hard enough – fighting over it is not going to make things any better.” – Steve, Elk Grove, California

11. “Monetary rewards for good grades; loss of privileges like Xbox and basketball for missing work. There’s also the clear expectation that my high schooler will reach out to his teachers when he needs extra help or falls behind. Lastly, I remind him that I’m on his team.” – Aimee, Washington

12. “Pushing them doesn’t work and only makes things worse. So, I give them a break to eat a snack and watch TV. Many times, they come back mentally refreshed.” – Susan, Akron, Ohio

13. “I show empathy. I tell them that I hear what they’re saying and repeat their frustrations back to them. They seem more willing to do the work once they feel their feelings and frustrations have been validated.” – Emily, Minnesota

14. “Follow the house plant rule: make sure kids have had water, food, and sunshine (outdoor activity) before attempting to do difficult things. We must fulfill their basic needs before they can learn.” – Patricia, Houston, Texas

15. “Arguing about homework occurs when parents take too much responsibility for a child’s performance. Set up a structure and an organized space at home that allows for success. Be available to help when asked. Be kind and understanding of your child’s experience. Remember that homework comes and goes; relationships last forever.” – An ADDitude Reader

16. “I have taught history for 40 years, and I think there should be no homework. We should promote educational games on the Internet as homework, so children don’t waste their computer time on nonsense and silly, unproductive websites.” – Devora, Brooklyn, New York

“I Don’t Want to Do My Homework!”: Next Steps


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Updated on February 17, 2021

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