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Why Is It So Hard For My Kid to Start Their Homework?


We all understand the importance of getting things started – from daily chores to school assignments. Task initiation is a vital skill that sets the foundation for success, and it’s crucial for your children as they navigate their academic journey. Task initiation refers to the ability to kickstart tasks, whether they are simple or complex. This becomes increasingly important for students as they juggle homework, chores, sports, and other commitments. At Untapped, we have seen this skill plummet in the last few years for all students, especially those with executive function deficits like ADHD, dyslexia, or anxiety.

As parents, it’s challenging to watch your child struggle to start a seemingly easy task, especially if it’s a task you know they are fully capable of completing in a short amount of time. It’s important to remember that your child is not just being lazy. There are a variety of reasons they might struggle with task initiation, and those reasons may change over time. No matter the cause, here are three ways you can support your student when they are struggling to get their work started:

  1. Chunk assignments and projects– Bigger projects can be overwhelming, and your child might need help knowing where or how to start working on them. Breaking these types of assignments into smaller, more manageable pieces makes each step of the process less daunting. You can also work with your students to set mini goals to help them work towards. This strategy will help them stay on pace for the assignment while keeping them motivated.
  2. Set a routine and stay consistent with it– Develop a consistent work routine for your child. If they can sit down at the same time and in the same place every day to finish their work, it will be much easier for them to get started. If your kids have to decide when and where to go to work every day, more exciting options (like video games) will win out. After your child follows the same work routine for a while, you’ll also notice that they can get through their work much more efficiently.
  3. Praise your child for their efforts- Take every opportunity to celebrate your child’s efforts and accomplishments while they work towards improving their task initiation. Your kid will quickly become discouraged if all they hear is a correction. Help your child focus on the behavior you want to see from them by praising them whenever they can start their work.

For More:

Task Initiation Challenges: Signs, Causes, and What to Do

Life Skills Advocate – Executive Functioning Skills 101: Task Initiation

How to Develop Task Initiation in Children

Self-Regulation and Task Initiation Strategies

Task Initiation Executive Functioning Strategies

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