My 9 year old can not focus and get her classwork done in a timely manner. Help!

Liz - posted on 10/23/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Every year I hear from her teachers, "She is such a lovely little girl, but she just has problems focusing on her classwork and getting it done in time." I'm tired of hearing this and had her tested for ADHD and ADD. Doctor says she doesn't have the symptoms. But we still have this issue.



Also, she is hiding her unfinished classwork in her desk and not turning it in. Therefore receiving a ZERO on the work. I have communicated with her and her teacher, but last week it hapened again. We were missing her BIG project that I sent in with her weeks before it was due, and about to receive a ZERO, then spoke with her teacher and we redid the project and turned it in for a reduction in the grade. While searching I found serveral unfished papers in her desk, and later that week found the project in her Math folder. I'm very fustrated....please help! Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you! Fustrated Mom

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Amber - posted on 04/24/2012

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I have the same problem with my 9 year old son. But after speaking with teachers I've been told I enable him too much. Constantly reminding him and bringing forgotten assignments to school must stop. That's what his teacher told me. He has to face the consequences of a zero or whatever the result may be. My concern is he still doesn't seem to care. He has this no big deal attitude and it is really frustrating. But he literally will forget what he is supposed to be doing minutes after being told. He leaves his things everywhere. Coats, lunchbox, books, etc. I am so confused and frustrated. How do you make a child choose to focus? He has been tested and does not have ADD or ADHD. I bought him new vitamins with omega-3 and DHA. I make sure he is eating a good breakfast with protein and no sugars. We have 5 weeks of school left and I am out of options. Is their a specific diet or certain foods that help or hinder memory and focus?

Carol - posted on 10/24/2009

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Hi Liz,

We to had problem's with our now 11 year old daughter. At first we noticed it when she was in third grade. Her grades would be good at the beginning of the year then started declining toward's the end. After having her tutored and studying everyday with her, still getting bad grades.Then finally in fifth grade her teacher suggested having her tested for ADHD. I was totally against it and laughed and said my daughter doesn't have that! Then without any change I struggled but decided to take her to a pediatric psychotrist. The doctor recommended it. She was tested and diagnosed with inattentive type. With a very mild case. The doctor suggested putting her on a low dose of aderal. Once she started the medication we noticed a change instantly. She is in 6th grade this year. She is student of the month with straight A's, joined volleyball and active in the green club. Which before she would of never joined anything.She has more self esteem now and her out look on life is more vibrant and promising. I am very happy I had her tested by a psychologist they use a different testing scale then regular doctor's.Good Luck!

[deleted account]

I completely feel your pain. My son is 11 and has issues with this as well. That, and he feels homework is tedious and boring, so we struggle to get that going each day. We finally had to send him to a private school. We are still struggling some, but not as bad, the teacher has been a huge asset. I agree with the other post. Emailing everyday, homework at certain times, no TV, and rewards to do the homework. She needs her own sticker system for things turned in. There are school supply stores that have these boxes for stickers, and each day she has her teacher put the sticker on for her if she turns it in. At the end of the week you have some reward, like going to the movie store to pick out her movie, or setting up a treasure box with misc rewards(all inexpensive). She will be setting herself up to be accountable for herself, and that's what she needs. She may just be testing the waters to see if anyone cares. I know for my son, we have to get physical activity before we even do homework, to get him focused. Getting the organizational stuff down know is key, I waited too long. Maybe there are books on how to get your child organized? A special accordian folder works for my son, (not to mention, keeps it clean and unwrinkled, which was also a problem)we put the homework in there, and I have him take it to the teacher each morning, if he forgets, she reminds him, and then comes the sticker. Hopefully, your daughters teacher will be willing to do this, it didn't work well for us in public school, the poor teacher just didn't have the time, but hopefully, yours does. Making it a habit is really important. Maybe you could also start her on chores everyday too, and give her more household responsibilities. As well as using them for punishment. My son hates chores, so I make him do more when he is slacking, and when he's done, I just praise him and do not give rewards for those. He seems to be getting it, jr high and high school will be a nightmare if you don't find what works now. Kids need structure. As well as independance. My hardest thing to do is walk away whenhes doing homework. He actually does better(which seemed crazy) when I set a timer and left the room. Absolutely NO distractions in the room either. If he's not done in time, he does a chore or loses a privelage. It was horrible at first, but now he just sits down and does it. I hope some of this helps we are still a work in progress, good luck!

Carmen - posted on 08/19/2011

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HI LIZ I HAVE A CHILD THAT IS DOING THE SAME THINGS HOW DID YOU MAKE OUT WITH YOU DAUGHTER CAN U HELP ME

Kathy - posted on 08/23/2011

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My favorite resource to help my son (with ADHD, now an adult) is a book called "Is Your Child Hyperactive? Inattentive? Impulsive? Distractible?" by Garber, Garber, and Spitzman. It's got practical strategies to help you teach your child to be more aware of distractions and how to fight them. Their "distracto-meter" is a great tool your classroom teacher can use, too. (It's not a machine, just a cute, easy way to monitor focus.)
My son's 3rd grade teacher Ms. Jones was fabulous. (But we homeschooled for grades 4-12 to customize education for him.) She sent home a little card each day marked off to show how he'd done.
The teacher can also do many other things to help so misbehavior is not rewarded, and good behavior is:
-silent tap on shoulder or arm when child seems distracted,
-silent cue (e.g. "If i tug on my earring, it means you need to settle down"),
-reward good behavior with privileges that allow movement,
-let child sit on an exercise ball or t-stool instead of a chair, which can help get the wiggles out.

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Amina - posted on 09/30/2010

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i wouls sggestt u give to her some banishment has go computer or mobile phone if she has i would limit her use of computer and take away her mobile untill she shows thats she's getting on with her homework see whats making her fall back talk to her

Erika - posted on 09/30/2010

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Maybe you could sit down with the teacher and collaborate a plan where the teacher reminds her of doesn't allow to leave the class until she has checked her desk for assignments. Maybe every time she turns in her assignment she can get some type of incentive to show the improvement of her being responsible for her work.

Cassandra - posted on 10/27/2009

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I know where you are coming from. My daughter is eleven and is the same way. She does not hide her work but she is very easily distracted and does not focus. It has been going on for the past two to three years and I feel that as she contines to move higher up in school and the more work and stress and pressure the worse it is going to be. She does at least an hour of homework at the boys and girls club where she goes after school and then at home she could easily work on homework from 7pm until 11:30pm and still not complete all of rhe asssignments. Her teachers agree that she does not focus but always has A's and B's so they say that it is not affecting her work or grades. But there has to be a better way than the way we go through doing homework every night. She has report card night this week and first of this school year and I am going to ask for suggestions and will let you know what we come up with. I do not believe that she needs medicine she knows it she just cannot focus. And if you have any different suggestions please let me know. Thank you

Jennifer - posted on 10/23/2009

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im having that trouble with my 7 yr old son last yr in kindergarten he done so well had all As and Bs and now this yr in 1st grade he all of sudden dont finish his work he is making Fs on everything and the teacher said that he is ugly to the other kids he got a paddling twice for spitting in another kids face and also burping in kids faces and his behavior has just gotten worse so my mom has got him on some vitamins just for focus and were changing his diet a dr told us that to much sugar can affect the liver and causing it to affect the focus part of the brain so i dont no i work with him at home were tring the reward thing and also doing everything we can so any suggestions ? help me please ive run out of options to do with him

[deleted account]

I had this problem with my daughter when she was in elementary school. As it turned out she was bored. We had her tested for the Gifted and Talented program, and she qualified. She's a lot smarter than the average bear, and you have to keep them stimulated. If it's not exciting for them, they will be sloppy, and just not deisre to do it at all. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I feel your frustration. I have an 8 year old son with ADHD. I also have ADHD. I made the decision to take him off of his medicine due to the side effects. He does not have a behavioral problem, but has trouble focusing, completing assisgnments on time, "loosing homework", organization, and is forgetful. The medicine helped and he made straight A's, however, as a nurse and as a mother, I would try every option before medicating. Perhaps the school counselor could put you in touch with someone who could help your daughter develop organizational skills, like an occupational therapist. My son has a folder he wirtes his assignments in. Each day we review it after school. Before he leaves school, he checks a box that shows he remembered his homework materials. THe teacher could even initial behind it if you like. We have a chart at home where he places a star each time he completes his homework, checks it, and turns it in the next day. After he has so many stars, he earns a reward. This seems to be helping some since he has been off the meds, at least with is homework. As far as paying attention and focusing at school, his teacher is amazing. She works very well with him. I think being at a new school he really likes with lots of activities also helps. I know he fades fast when he is bored or uninterested. Maybe our children are too smart for their own good! :) Have you ever entertained the notion that your daughter could be "gifted" and is not in a class challenging enough for her? Anyhow, good luck. Use your school resources. Hopefully your school counselor will be able to help! I also agree with one of the other mom's about having her vision/hearing checked. My son has amblyopia which affects his work occasionally, usually when he is really tired.

Angie - posted on 10/23/2009

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Speak with your child and find out why she isn't completing her work. There could be many reasons. Is she a child who is anxious and needs to see where and what others are doing? Is she a social child and what her friends are doing is more interesting than the work she to complete? Is the classroom a quiet place or is the teacher working with another group and it captures her attention. If she is hiding her work, then she realizes there are consequences- so she is trying to get out of trouble. Many times kids know they are in too deep but can't figure out how to get out of it. I don't know the specifics but is she not getting it done because of organizational issues? Create a system that works for your child. Experiment with various ideas such as 2 folders, red and green, red-stop not finshed-take home, green-goes back to school. or one folder with each side clearly labeled "Take Home" and "Return to School". Maybe ask the teacher for a set of books to keep at home if forgeting texts is the issue. The key is knowing your child and what your child needs.

Janae - posted on 10/23/2009

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check to see if she is having problems seeing her work clearly. She may need to have her eyes checked.

Lisa - posted on 10/23/2009

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Suggestion: You are your child's best advocate. It may seem overkill, but be in contact with her teacher every day making sure homework is turned in until this situation is resolved. Let your daughter know her responsibility in school and hold her accountable. Set up a reward/punishment system and stick to it (maybe a half hour of tv when her work is complete and turned in and one day grounded if it isn't). Be consistent, be fair and listen to her -- maybe something is going on at school you don't know about. It can be difficult to assume kids this age can handle responsibility, but they can. It sounds like this is a longer term issue so it may just mean reconditioning her to the demands and expectations of school. She's get! Just hang in there.

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