23 answers

Child Has a Hard Time Paying Attention & Getting Work Done at School and Home.

My Child is in the 1st grade. He is a good kid for the most part. But this year we are having a really hard time with him paying attention and following directions and getting his work done in a timely manner. I am constantly on him it seems, for him to do chores around the house, and the teacher has called me numerous times stating that he has to miss recess and sometimes stay after school to finish work that he is slow on completing, and the other kids don't have a problem with their work, he stares off in space, talks with other kids, what ever he can to not work on what he is supposed to. I am at my whits end with ideas and things that I can do to get him to accomplish things. He always "forgets" things it seems on purpose so he doesn't have to do them. I don't know if there is something more medically there or if its just stubbornness.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

By the sound of things, I would highly recommend having him tested for ADD. I had a nephew that sounded exactly like this and was put on meds in 2nd grade which helped him tremendously. by the time he was in Jr. High, he didn't need them anymore.

I use a timer with my 5 year old at home. It helps to keep him focused on time. At school, I don't know, but at home, the timer keeps him focused on getting one thing at a time accomplished. It has helped to some extent.

More Answers

Hi R.,

Well I have a 1st grader also and he is going through the samething also. Not all the time but some or part. I'm not about to jump on the band wagon that it is ADD though as most of the 1st graders in my sons class are the same way of sorts.

I was at my sons school today infact for their valentine party and I'm the head room parent, so we got there today and all the kids were behind on their work. My sons teacher was telling all the kids that they need to get done with their morning work.
So I think there are a couple things going on here 1) kids have to learn alot more in school now a days 2)they are only in 1st grade and staying focused is something that comes with time, they will get it in the next few years. 3) they are learning to cope with distractions in school whether it have to do with other kids or just things going on in the school or even throughout the day.
When I was there today none of them had their morning work completed.

Our party didn't get started for 30n minutes today and the other mothers and I had to help the kids get done with their things in order for us to start.
I would say that if it continues to go on for the next few years then seek other advice for me even now I'm gonna let my son figure this out on his own and let time pass.

1 mom found this helpful

My first response is what is he eating. If he is eating alot of sweets and very few protiens that can have an affect on his attention span.

Also, he is a boy. I have a son that is almost 10 and he still has problems staying on task at times due to the fact that he is very smart and curious about everything. He can spend the better part of an hour daydreaming through a series of events. I sometimes wonder how many battles and kingdoms he has rescued over the course of the school day.

I homeschool and I realize this is not an option for everyone but through this experience I have learned a lot about kids.
Children weren't created to sit quietly 8 hours a day. Do you sit quietly ALL day at work with out speaking to the person next to you or without getting up and stretching you legs or taking a little break? That is what we are asking of very energetic children that love to move and do. So even though I realize he needs to learn to sit and listen I would also sympathize with his situation.

I am not sure that any of this was really what you call advice but I do hope that it was at least of some encouragement.

If you are a person who believes in prayer I would pray with him every morning before school.

1 mom found this helpful


I truly believe this could be a normal part of a 6 year old boys life. Yes, it is worse in some boys than others and there could be a problem with ADD however doctors and parents alike are too quick to put kids on meds without trying other options first, all meds have some side effects. My 6 year old son is the same way, he is the slowest in getting his work done at school but the important thing (according to his teacher) is he does get it done and he gets it done right, he just needs more time. We also put our son in wrestling last year and it has helped him focus and taught him discipline (not to mention what it has done for his self-esteem). Since season started this year, he is already doing better at school. When he does chores, we do have to remind him to keep cleaning and not play with the toys he is suppose to be putting away. At home, we gave him a desk in his room to do school work and this is where he does all homework, the desk faces the wall so he does not get distracted by his tv (which does get turned off), or any toys in his room. Homework is getting done twice as quick now that he has his own place to do it.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like your child might be bored. Have you had him tested to see if he is above his class. Those are symptoms of being extremely bored at school which usually means they are not being challenged enough. That is one idea. The other is of course ADD or ADHD but he doesn't sound like he has that condition. I would have the teacher try to give him more challenging things to accomplish and see if his attitude changes about school.

1 mom found this helpful

I work with children that have difficulty getting their work done. I was wondering if you have thought of a way to make it fun for him. Like a penny check chart for every 5 minutes that he is on task. Let's say that if math is 30 minutes your son could earn a total of six check marks. If during that thirty minutes he hasn't lost any checks then maybe his teacher could give him a small reward. I wouldn't want him to loose more than let's say two or three checks. You want your son to be successful. If there are any behaviors that can be ignored then do it. It may seem like it can't be done but I have seen children work hard to earn their rewards. After a while you may want to up the penny checks to have your son earn a different reward. Like a popcorn party for the class. It's just a couple of ideas that I use at school and works really well.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds familiar to me as I have a son who was and still is like that at times.
It is up to you, but you might check into allergies, food, dyes, etc causing issues with your child.
I also would have him checked for Inattentive Attention Deficiet Disorder. Start with talking with your Pediatrician, then some Teachers to start the process. There are many treatments to this including sometimes simple diet changes. There is also medication that can help, worth checking out for your's and his sanity. I was able to keep my Son off any medication until he was in 3rd grade - my choice at the time. I then put him on medication and saw awesome changes, (not a hyperactive child like everyone told me would happen), but instead a functional child who now had ability to concentrate for points of time. My son's grades improved along with his self-esteem,(Well worth putting him on medication). I realised the person I had hurt the most by delaying his medication was HIM, (my fault). As Moms we are always searching for the best way to help our children succeed, for him it was with the use of Medication. I encourage you to ask questions, lots of them and continue to learn what works best for him. In the long run it will be the right way even if you make 'mistakes' along the way.
I still work with my son's diet, and try to teach him adaptive survivor behavior to help him use his unique style to work outside the box in today's Society.
Medication is not a fix all, it just helps him focus and accomplish things he needs to in order to function. My Son is a bright, ingenious child who comes up with new ways of doing things and problem solves in ways unexpected to most people. (The greatest inventers are made up of styles just like these. I tell my son this now as he is old enough to realise he is a 'little different' than others).

1 mom found this helpful

You just described my first grader. LOL! Be thankful for his good behavior. He is probably just a happy go lucky kid, a daydreamer, and time means nothing to him. What were you like in school? I was a daydreamer. You could suggest to his teacher to sit him close to her and always make sure he is looking at her when she is giving instructions. (You may even want to have his eyes checked.) At home it may help to set a timer when you want him to complete a task (ten minute tidy up). This gives a tangible way to watch time go by and can be a good motivator. I have to look in my son's back pack with him everyday or we will miss homework assignments. Be consistent and always follow through when you tell him to do something. There could be a bit of a stubborn streak there. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I use a timer with my 5 year old at home. It helps to keep him focused on time. At school, I don't know, but at home, the timer keeps him focused on getting one thing at a time accomplished. It has helped to some extent.

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