GUEST BLOG POST: Create an Effective Homework Space for Your ADHD Child by Joyce Wilson

adhdAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can hinder your child’s ability to focus, create goals, prioritize their work and stay organized. But did you know that you can actually help combat the symptoms of ADHD with a well-designed space for school projects? A workspace free from distraction can keep kids on track. With a few extra considerations, it can even tackle the added complications ADHD can bring; take into account the location of the desk, the supplies at hand, the organization of the space and special systems that will help develop good work habits.


Your child’s workspace should be in an area where he won’t be distracted. It should be away from any external stimuli, like the television, gaming consoles, or tablets. It also shouldn’t be in an area where people congregate and socialize like the living room or kitchen. The workspace shouldn’t be in the child’s room, as the bedroom is an area for play and for sleep, which may cause distraction.

Create an office space in a spare room, with a designed environment conducive for focused work. If you don’t have a spare room that can be used as an office, find an area in another room that can fit a desk. The desk should be away from a window and face a wall. Make sure the desk is equipped with drawers, so your child has everything they need within reach and won’t have to leave the work area for resources or supplies. If your child is prone to lots of movement and fidgeting, consider a standing desk. This type of desk will allow necessary movement, but still provides a space where he can work.

If your child tends to struggle with auditory distractions, consider keeping a small fan by his workspace. It can create enough noise that it drowns out a lot of background commotion without becoming a distraction itself. He may even find it helpful to listen to classical music or recordings of natural sounds like a rainstorm or a babbling brook.


Limit the amount of supplies in your child’s workspace. An excess of supplies and tools could cause distraction from the tasks at hand. For example, sets of colored pencils and markers could lead him down a road towards a coloring, artistic excursion. While it’s great that he expresses his creativity, you don’t want his work to suffer.

Instead, set up a supply station so he can have a successful work session free from interruption. It should be somewhere separate from his everyday workspace but easily reachable if he runs out of something or needs additional tools like markers or paper clips. Check in periodically to assess which specific supplies are needed for homework, and replenish as necessary.

If your child needs a break from his homework, provide him with fun academic exercises like word games and puzzles. These exercises will keep his brain engaged and also help him practice his focus, while still giving him some time away from schoolwork. Store them with your child in mind; if you think he’ll be too quick to take a break without really trying to focus, keep them somewhere only you can get to them to be sure he stays on track.


Children with ADHD often have a difficult time prioritizing, goal-setting and managing their time. Help manage these issues with a strong organizational system. Keep a clock at the desk so the child can monitor his time. Place a large calendar near the workspace so he can keep track of his homework due dates and activities. Have a designated space for your child’s completed assignments and new assignments. A cork board hung above the desk is helpful to separate daily homework tasks, larger projects and any other visual information your child may need.

Be sure the cork board stays organized; don’t let it get overflowed with too many objects and pieces of paper. It shouldn’t be decorated too extravagantly, but should look clean and systematic. Make sure that his desk his cleared off after he’s done working each day. It’s important for his workspace to never seem chaotic so he doesn’t become overwhelmed with everything he has to do before he even begins.


Help your child develop positive study and work habits. Have him set time goals before he begins his work, so he can keep on track and have a steady flow of productivity. On the wall space, near the desk, have posters that provide your child with checkpoints for the moments when he feels distracted or frustrated. For example, when he begins a project he should run through the following checklist:

  1. What is the due date for the project?
  2. What is the project’s big idea?
  3. How can you break down the big idea into smaller ideas?
  4. Create a time schedule or a priority schedule for the task.
  5. When finished: check work, polish and have a tidy presentation of your project.
  6. Clean your workspace.


Joyce Wilson loved being a teacher, and though she has recently retired, she hasn’t lost that passion. She continues to educate (and help educators) by mentoring teachers in her area. She is also the co-creator of, a resource for teachers to gather fun, engaging lesson ideas and activities.


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  1. One Response to “GUEST BLOG POST: Create an Effective Homework Space for Your ADHD Child by Joyce Wilson”

  2. A lot of good suggestions, but they don’t apply to many with ADHD and I believe your title is misleading. For example, quite a few kids with ADHD get a lot of homework accomplished in their bedrooms, even lying in bed! And exercise is a great activity for study breaks. While the technique of giving fun puzzles and word games works well in classrooms, that’s a management tool (how to fill a child’s time after an assignment so that they don’t disrupt the classroom atmosphere) that I don’t find necessary when doing work at home. They may keep the brain engaged, so do exercise, protein snacks (non-dairy) and hydrating with water. Worksheets may also exhaust the ADHD brain if they’re used during a break. (BTW, where’s the “break”?) As a former teacher and school counselor for 30 years, and an ADHD family coach for the past 10 years, I find that the best advice offers several strategies at once. There is no one way to help an ADHD child. ADHD demonstrates itself differently in each child, though there may be overlap. Not to be excessively rude, but the techniques you describe above sound robotic and not stimulating or fun. I would advise parents to not be focused on trying to implement all of these in one year; rather they should be taught over time. ADHD kids need fun and play and these should not be separate from chores or homework.

    By Margit Crane Luria (Blocked to Brilliant) on Jun 9, 2016