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Steps for Walking the Fine Line Between Doing Too Much and Too Little

“I am so afraid that if I don’t double check that my child passed in their missing homework then they will forget and fail.” 

We understand that this is a valid concern, trust us we really do.  We also know that this “double checking” is a habit that formed because your child is forgetful, feels terrible that they continue forgetting, and has a track record of getting unwanted grades because of this challenge. Your child may also be in the habit of relying on you to be sure they haven’t missed anything. In most households it goes something like this:

Tuesday evening:

Mom or Dad: “Johnny, have you been passing in your homework? Have you been hitting submit? Last week you kept forgetting?”

Johnny: “Yes! Stop asking me about it!”


Mom or Dad can’t help themselves, go on Powerschool (or any online grading software) and look to see if Johnny passed in his work. When they see that he didn’t they text him reminding him to pass it in or go talk to their teacher and explain that they did the homework but forgot to pass it in.  

This conversation comes up again and again and Johnny makes no progress in developing the necessary skills. He relies on reminders from his parents to make sure he doesn’t get zeros.  

So what are you supposed to do?

Step 1: Assess how difficult it will be for you to start taking baby steps back so your child can experience both failure and success as they try out new strategies.  

Step 2: Once you have that awareness decide how small or big your step back can be.  This will depend on where your child falls in their own skill development. If your child has extremely underdeveloped executive functioning skills your steps back need to be very small. If your child’s skills are getting stronger and you sense they are stuck in a learned behavior pattern take a much bigger step back.

Step 3:  Talk to your child about strategies they need to create and use moving forward as well as your plan to take a step back.  Examples of strategies might be having your child write a large note that says “Don’t Forget to Hit Submit” that hangs close to where they do homework or maybe it is a small sticky note that they put on their computer. If your child forgets to pass in homework during the school day, try having your child put a sticky note right on their folder or binder.  You can also help your child try a visualization exercise.  When visualizing, your child can explain to you what the process is for collecting homework and then they can close their eyes and picture themselves handing it in. They will want to think about the time of day, where they are sitting, where their teacher is usually standing, etc. Drawing a sketch of the passing in homework process is also a great way to help the brain remember what it is going to do.  

Step 4: Ask your child what you can do to support them as they take this over.  They may want you to check Powerschool twice a week, then once a week, then every couple of weeks. 

Step 5: Recognize that if providing reminders and double checking is a habit you are letting go of it might be difficult at first. Trust the process and follow your child’s lead.  They need to have strategies before you can let them fly with full independence.  

You got this!

P.S. Grab a copy of Our Four Step Guide to Creating an ADHD Treatment Plan here. 

P.S.S. The ADHD Parenting Blueprint is back! Hop on the waitlist today!

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Mom's Choice, ADDA, CHADD, ACO

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