Homework & Studying

How to Focus After 4: Defying Homework Distractions

What do essential oils, a quick run in the woods, and staples in the wall all have in common? They’re all tried-and-true focus strategies recommended by ADDitude readers with children who are easily distracted from their homework.

child focus problems
Mom helps her ADHD daughter with homework
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Recommended Focus Fixes

We asked ADDitude readers to share their best tricks for keeping easily distracted children focused on schoolwork. Here's what you said!

Two ADHD young friends running on a path outdoors to help them focus on homework.
two ADHD children running in the grass on a path
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Exercise As a Natural Cure

"We have her put her pencil down and run around the house three times! This not only gets the energy out, but it is so silly it usually gets the grumpies out, too, and she can refocus long enough to get her work done." –Nancy J. McMillin

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Create Visual Schedules

"My 4-year-old with ADHD responds really well to laminated picture schedules. He loves using an erasable marker to check things off once he's finished them, and will work extra hard to finish all of them himself without being reminded. The marker gives him the control, and the pictures are his own personal reminders of what needs to be done." –ThisPlaceIsNowAHome

[Free Download: Top 5 Homework Frustrations — and Fixes for Each]

A teacher showing class how to focus on homework
Teacher and class with raised hands
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Get Creative at School

"My son's teacher let's him pull staples out of the wall. It's been working so well she had to go around the room and put in more staples for him to pull out." –Mandy

Mother and daughter working on homework and learning how to focus
Mother and Daughter Doing Homework
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Is She Overwhelmed?

"For my daughter's homework pages, I put them in a folder that I cut into three flaps. When we do the homework, we open one flap at a time so she can focus on just a couple questions at a time and not be distracted by the rest of the work." –Laura Patalon

Lavender essential oil to help with focus on homework
Lavender spa
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Try Essential Oils

"I use lavender oil behind his ears to calm him and then peppermint oil in a diffuser to help him focus! Works like a charm." —Autumn Hartley

A young girl using stuffed animals to help her focus on homework
Girl holding a personal data assistant on the bed
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Recruit Furry Friends

"Our daughter loves her stuffed animals. So my husband and I use them to help her keep on track. They 'talk' and 'motivate' her, and we use them as 'students' for asking questions on her homework. She makes them answer, but obviously it is really our daughter doing the work! She loves it and it keeps her engaged and on track!" –Juli Agacinski Wiseman

[The ADHD Homework System We Swear By]

A child with ADHD struggling to focus on a difficult homework assignment.
Mother watching son do homework from around the corner
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Use Gentle, Frequent Reminders

"If he is getting distracted or off-task, I stop, put my hand on his shoulder, and ask 'What's your job?' I think the combination of a calm touch and getting him to engage his executive skills are what helps to bring him back to the job at hand." –Laura

Post-it notes filled with reminders to focus on homework
Wall covered in colorful post-it notes.
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Try the Post-It Game

"We use strategically placed Post-It notes to remind my son of his morning and evening tasks. He hands in the Post-It notes when the tasks are complete." –Gib

A young girl reading and trying to focus on homework
girl reading with pencil in mouth
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Give Her Something to Chew On

"Our twins do much better at staying on task when they have something to chew on. We've got a big collection of chewy necklaces, bracelets, even teething rings!" –SixSeconds

ADHD boy jumping on a trampoline to help him focus on homework
ADHD boy jumping on a trampoline to help him focus on homework
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Bounce Out the Stress

"My son jumps on his mini trampoline before sitting down to work." –Amie Smith

[Scripts to End Every Homework Fight]