When your daughter has ADHD, she needs accommodations to succeed in school. Our girls have accommodations in the classroom, but we also give them accommodations in our at-home study spaces. Use this guide to help you set up an ADHD-friendly study space for girls.
Why traditional homework stations don’t work for girls with ADHD
A girl with ADHD will hate sitting at a traditional kid’s desk (usually).
Because she can’t move her legs or sit in weird positions. That chair will crash to the floor in seconds.
Your ADHD daughter may also find wall posters distracting.
You think she is working on a math worksheet when, suddenly, she is telling you about the agricultural imports and exports of Idaho (which she read on the poster).
Globes in her study space are also a no-go. She’ll spend her study time telling you about all the places she hopes to visit one day.
Study space by a window? Also won’t work. She’ll spend her study time imagining adventures outdoors.
So, what can a parent do to help set up a study space for their daughter with ADHD that will actually provide the support she needs?
Luckily, free movement in the classroom is encouraged in many classrooms, and you can mimic that environment with your daughter’s study space.
How to Set Up an ADHD-Friendly Study Space
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Here’s what works for my girls with ADHD:
Remove General Distractions
It is incredibly hard to focus my child with ADHD.
She finds the slightest thing distracting, like the click that the coffee pot makes when it turns off. She (and Bo as well) has been known to bolt out of bed, run across the entire house to our bedroom when we are sleeping to ask about a small squeak or rustle.
My kids are distracted by movement, sounds, smells, each other, and their own thoughts.
To get our homework station to work, we have to remove as many distractions as possible during school time. At various times, we have implemented all or some of the following:
- Turning off the dishwasher, music, dryer, and anything else that makes noise.
- Not hanging any sort of visually stimulating poster in our homeschool room.
- Putting up study carrels around each child’s work to keep them from distracting each other.
- Keeping a ton of extra pencils and school supplies around so the kids don’t waste time looking for the item they just had and managed to lose already.
- Only bringing out one subject at a time.
- Trying not to look like what I am doing is in any way interesting.
Provide Easy Access to Materials
We keep all of our school and craft supplies in cubbies that the kids can easily access and get what they need to complete assignments.
Make Your Study Area Comfy
It’s pretty much torture for any of the members in our family to sit on uncomfortable chairs.
My kids fall out of our dining room chairs at a ridiculous rate. We much prefer doing homework on comfy surfaces. I only make Monkey do table work for writing and occasionally math if she starts to get sloppy.
Monkey and Bo have beanbag chairs that they love sitting on for school work. Monkey will sit and look at her science books for an hour or more in her beanbag, and miraculously, she hardly moves.
Create a Specific Distraction-Free Zone for Each Girl
When you have to help multiple ages with homework, your ADHD daughter will need extra alone time for some tasks. I’ve set Monkey up with a little study area in her room where she can go to focus.
We also let her do work alone in my office, which has a traditional desk that makes writing assignments easier.
Don’t Include Toys
I’ve seen some combination homework station/playrooms, and they look awesome, but for the ADHD girl, this style of classroom would be torture.
Keep toys out of sight of your ADHD daughter’s study area.
Provide a Space for Hands-On Learning
Make sure you provide a large workspace, such as a table or open area of the floor, for hands-on learning. Here are some tips for setting up a hands-on STEM center at home.
Examples of Awesome ADHD Study Spaces for Girls
If you need more inspiration, these study spaces would work well for girls with ADHD:
This quite reading nook would be perfect for a girl with ADHD.
A closet study area is what I’m hoping to build for my kids’ quiet study time one day like this one.
This minimalist classroom would be perfect for a kid with ADHD.
I could see this homework station set-up working well for several kids who have to work in the same room.
Facing the wall eliminates some sibling bickering during homework time.
Essentials for the ADHD Homeschool Room
We’ve found these items to be extremely helpful in our ADHD homeschool room.
- Bean bag chairs
- Cubby storage
- Extra pencils and pens
- Fidget toys (these work best when the child is listening to lessons, not when trying to complete an assignment)
- Study carrel
- Progress/reward charts
What steps do you take to ensure your daughter’s study space is equipped for ADHD?