Dr. Linda Answers Your Questions | Homework and Multitasking

Dr. Linda's School Success Q & ADear Dr. Linda,

My daughter does her homework while she’s text messaging her friends, listening to music and chatting with her friends on Facebook. She argues that she can do her homework while doing all this. Is she right or should I make her do her homework at the kitchen table so I can watch her? Very Frustrated Mom.

Dear Frustrated Mom,

Teenagers value their social life and don’t always understand or agree with advice from Moms. Your daughter will argue that she is doing her homework, and she probably is. She doesn’t realize that she’s doing her homework like a robot but not learning anything from it.

But having her sit at the kitchen table will be torture for her and for you. You don’t need to watch her do her homework.

When you’re both calm and she’s listening, talk about the research that has been done on the teenage brain and multitasking. It doesn’t work. The teenagers who didn’t multitask while they doing homework or preparing for tests finished their work quicker and learned more. In fact there’s a lot of research that proves multitasking doesn’t work for anybody, not just teens.

However, listening to music if it isn’t too loud may help. Research shows that listening to music while studying helps some kids, especially kids with ADHD.

She’ll just have to experiment to see if music helps her concentrate.

Suggest to your daughter that she set up time to do her homework and set up another time to talk to her friends. This way she’ll have the best of both worlds. She’ll do better in school, and she’ll still have time to talk to her friends. Let her know that you think it’s important for her to have time to talk to her friends.

Best wishes for homework time for you and your daughter,
Dr. Linda

Be sure to leave your school success question for me in the comment section below. I publish readers questions and answers every Friday.

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