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Checks and Balances

If your child is like most children, she likely needs quite a bit of supervision to get through her day. If she’s like many children who suffer from ADD or ADHD, she might need more than just a little bit of supervision. In fact, it may feel as though the supervision has to be constant.

Maybe she wanders off to game websites when she’s supposed to be working on her schoolwork. Maybe he is incapable of getting anything done unless you draw his attention back to it every few minutes, leaving you wondering why it was, again, that you decided against drugs to keep his behavior in check. Maybe she is prone to lying about just how much work she actually accomplished over the course of the day—something that is particularly easy if your child is virtual schooled and does not require your assistance or participation for every assignment.

How are you supposed to make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be? If you have more than one child, especially if you have a large family, this can be particularly difficult. The youngest ones require more of your time, energy, and attention simply in order to learn; but the older ones have learned that when you’re distracted, they can get away with being a lot sneakier.

What’s a mom to do?

First, implement a series of checks and balances. Make it plain that they’re not going to be able to get away with anything.

Check in on them regularly. Walk through the house more than is absolutely necessary for the tasks that you must accomplish, checking in on each child as you go. Look over their shoulders: accomplishing schoolwork, or doodling in the margins? Does your child need a reminder that she needs to be back on task?

Implement “brain breaks.” Take a minute out in the middle of the day to run around outside, or to read a book that they want to read, or to dance in the living room. Whatever it takes to get your child moving and to get their minds back on track, it’s worth it to take a few minutes to try it.

Check internet history at the end of every day. It’s a lot easier to punish wandering fingers and wandering eyes as soon as they’ve done it than it is to correct weeks of gaming or improper browsing.

Hold them accountable at the end of the day. Let them know how much work they’re expected to accomplish, and any time they don’t, let them keep working until it’s done.

Above all, resist the urge to just “let it go” for more than a day or two. Any time you become distracted by something else, your kids are going to know it—and the longer you stay distracted, the harder it’s going to be to get them back on task.