Inattention: Advice for Home and School

At Home

Require eye contact when giving instructions.

When giving instructions, make sure you make eye contact with you child.  If you aren’t sure he is listening, ask him to repeat the instructions.

Do homework in a low distraction area of the home.

Study in a low stimulation area like the bedroom, not in the kitchen or den where activity is high.  Use calming background instrumental music, if necessary.  Avoid the TV, radio or heavy music while studying.  Remove or turn off the cell phone if your child has one.  Begin studying before supper and get as much completed as early in the evening as possible. 

Help your child get organized.

Some children are quite disorganized and need help in creating a system for studying.  Organize your child’s notebook with dividers, and use a three-holed pouch for pencils, erasers, and calculator.  Help organize your child’s desk at home and at school.  Help your child prioritize the homework by importance and logical order of completion. 

Use an assignment book for homework.

Teach your child to use an assignment book for homework accountability.  If necessary, ask the teacher to sign it each day and then have the teacher check for your signature each morning to ensure assignment communication. 

Gradually transfer schoolwork responsibilities from your shoulders to your child’s.

Most children who need academic assistance will prefer that parents continue to “spoon feed” them as long as possible.  Once productive habits for doing homework have been taught, release your child to fly or fall.  The reality of failure can be motivating.

Consider enrolling in a martial arts class or go fishing.

A Karate or Tae kwon do class can help a child develop self-control, concentration and respect for others.  Soccer provides a release of energy in a controlled fashion.  Going fishing provides a get-away from the stimulation of the modern-day, electronic world.


At School

Seek a calm and controlled classroom.

Inattentive children benefit from good classroom control by the teacher.  This will involve a good discipline policy, a patient yet authoritative teacher, a reasonable classroom size, and appropriately challenging curriculum.

Sit close to the teacher.

If inattentiveness is a problem, the child should be moved to the front of the class and away from talkative classmates.

Provide written instructions and visual aids.

Keep oral instructions brief and provide written instruction of assignments.  Visual aids help capture attention and reinforce oral instruction.  Use an assignment book or daily checklist of tasks.

Break up tasks and homework into small steps.

Inattentive students are easily overwhelmed by lengthy instructions.  When possible, instruction should be offered to the class in small segments with ample opportunity for questions.

Print This Page Print This Page