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professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience:  Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
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my 10 year old niece does not concentrate when it comes to

Resolved Question:

my 10 year old niece does not concentrate when it comes to doing her homework. She will get up from her seat i.e. to get a glass of water or go to the toilet, she will start up a conversation about an irrelevant subject, etc. In short, it will take her hours to get her daily homework done. Left alone, she will probably not do a thing. Suprisingly, she is one of the best students in her class and is always annoyed when someone gets a higher mark than her! Why won't she concentrate?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 2 years ago.

professional_Alison : Hello there, may I help you? It sounds like your niece is a very capable child and she is finding homework simply a bit boring. She is using distraction tactics to avoid completing it. Try to be very positive and encourage her to complete it by having something she enjoys doing as an after homework activity. For example when you have done your Maths homework would you like to do some craft together or have a go on the computer.
professional_Alison : It may also be worth doing a star chart so for each piece of homework she completes without any fuss and within a reasonable time she gets a star. For five stars she is rewarded with a friend to tea or an outing at the weekend to the cinema or bowling for example. Discuss what she would like her reward to be so she has an aim in sight.

First of all, thank you for your prompt response! Unfortunately, we have tried the after-homework activities rewards you have mentioned. This is not a new thing for her. Ever since she started primary school she has hated doing her homework,

professional_Alison : Have you tried getting her a tutor to help her with her subjects if she is struggling to complete it, you may find she responds differently to a non family member.

- sorry, pressed the wrong button there! I will continue where I left off - and it has gotten to the point where she finishes her homework way pass her bed time. In other words, no time for after homework activities! As I mentioned earlier, she seems to have no interests that we can use to our advantage....


All 3 tutors gave up on her!

professional_Alison : Have you tried doing homework as soon as she comes home. Then use the once you have done it you have time to do what you want idea. Make it her choice. It can take 20 minutes or we can sit here all evening until its done.

Yes, she comes home from school, eats, has a half an hour break and then homework begins. Her mother is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because they will be there, together, until 10 pm! As for rewarding her with friends comming over, we cannot. She has always been an outsider at school, and it was only this year that schoolmates started hanging out with her. We try to bring friends over as often as we can, for her own benefit, regardless whether or not she has completed her homework in a timely manner.

professional_Alison :

Then I would cut out the break when she gets home, be really firm, give her a drink at the table and begin. Dont stop for dinner or snack just persevere with completing the work, support her and give lots of positive encouragement.


professional_Alison :

Have you spoken with her teacher about the problems you are experiencing??



Once again, I thank you for talking to me and all of your suggestions. Her mother has sent her to bed on occasions without dinner (not often, obviously!) as a form of punishment, but she did not seemed phased by it. Both her parents have sat her down to talk to her, but she doesn't seem to care. As for encouragement, she has so much support from all of us - her parents, her aunt (me) and her grandmother - we all love her to death and are so proud of her and her sister and we tell this to them on a daily basis because it's the truth. They are both highly intelligent, beautiful little angels, however the eldest just seems to not want to do her homework.


Over the years all her teachers have said the same thing - she is extremely bright, but given a pillow she would probably fall asleep in the classroom...


I know she really has difficulty with maths (I am a physist and I was also a teacher, so I kind of recognize that she has difficulty in this subject) and I would understand why she would hate this subject, but she also procrastinates on her favourite subjects such as literature and history! She even won an award for the best essay in the whole school - a highly imaginative tale she wrote all by herself using words we never knew existed! - and yet she still drags her feet when it comes to studying even here!


-physicist - darn, no auto correct here! :)

professional_Alison :

Do you think that perhaps she is board and not being stretched enough. Has she been academically assessed, you say she has difficulty in maths but an exceptional vocabulary in english literature. She sounds exceptionally bright.


professional_Alison :

Have you tried removing priviledges if she doesnt complete homework such as television and computer?

professional_Alison :
professional_Alison :

Does she do homework in a room with no distractions? Just exploring every avenue!



Yes, she is extremely bored. We can't figure out a way to motivate her. As I mentioned earlier, she gets annoyed if someone gets a higher mark than her - especially in her specialty subject (which is Greek literature - they live in Greece!) however if we try to use that against her she lashes out accusing us of comparing her with other students and stuff like that. No, she has not been academically assessed (I think; I'm not sure what you mean by that). All priveledges have been removed but after a while my sister (her mother) finds that to be too cruel of a punishment, so some priveledges slowly begin to creep in again, only to be removed again, and the cycle goes on and on. She creates distractions if there are none around...


The key here, I believe, is indeed the fact that she finds learning stuff boring.

professional_Alison :

I believe you need to speak with the school about stretching her and providing appropriate activities to stretch her academically.


professional_Alison :

It seems you have tried everything to assist her learning to no avail and she is a very capable child who I true;y believe is bored as you say.

The school need to take responsibility for assisting you here.

professional_Alison :

I mean assessed as in her intelligence of ability for her age in certain subjects.


professional_Alison :

Her mother needs to have a meetsing with the principle of the school and explain all that has gone on, what you have tried, her reactions etc.


professional_Alison :

Are you still there?


Oh, right! Her current teacher told us that in philological studies (literature, history, essay writing, etc) she is at least a year advanced (at least!) but in everything else she is exactly what is to be expected of a child her age. I will go to the school on Monday. I would love to hear what they have to say about this, although I doubt I will get far. Nonetheless, I will try. I will also read all your suggestions again and try re-implementing some. All we want for her is to show some sign of interest. We don't care about her getting top marks, all we care about is for her to find a way to get motivated and interested. She cannot continue to depend on her mother (or any tutor) to sit there for hour forcing the information into her head, especially since it is so obvious that she is more than capable of reading herself. She just doesn't try. At all!

professional_Alison :

You sound as if you have all the ideas in place and are willing to give them all your best shot! If she is ahead in certain studies they should be stretching her in those. If she is struggling in maths for example she should be supported in this subject too. Its important to go into the head teacher with notes of whats happened, what you have triedm the childs reactions, your concerns and what you hope to gain from the school, that way they cant distract you from what you want to say.



I wish I did indeed have all the ideas in place! hahaha! We want nothing more than to see this angel freed from her frastration of having to "learn". It's not good for her, her self-esteem, or her mother who has to spend all those hours over her shoulder. I thank you for giving me the ideas to work on - even though we have tried, we may need to try again but this time pay more attention. We will indeed go to the head master. We will indeed have notes (that is something we have not tried before!). All we want is for the child to be happy.

professional_Alison :

I agree that this cant be any good for the child or her mother. It must be a stressful and unhappy time during the homwork battle. You all want whats best for her and thats the common ground you can work on with the school.

This question will be here for you to refer to in your questions box. I am more than happy to talk to you again if you just type for professional_alison at the beginning of your question. If you are happy with your answer please accept so that I can be compensated for my time.


Thank you Alison! Accept button has been pressed! Have a lovely day!

professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience: Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
professional_Alison and 2 other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. As a Parenting Expert
and Mentor, I would like to offer some suggestions and some issues that
were omitted.Make sure that
your niece has a planner of the assignments that need to be completed
every day. That way everyone will know what assignments she will be
held accountable for. If in fact she does have difficulties in math,
seeking a tutor or math buddy may help out in that area. With regards
to keeping your niece focused, break the assignments down into smaller
chunks. Set a timer for 30 minutes to start. However when she
finishes the first task in 30 may need to be 15 to start..
she is not allowed to do a fun activity otherwise she will always rush
through her work just to have playtime. When she finishes her school
work in the allotted time periods, have her walk around outside to get
some fresh air. Do some jumping jacks. Call a relative. Write in a
special journal. However, she may not have time to complete the in
between tasks if it is too late in the evening.

Since she seems to be procrastinating in doing her homework, maybe you
can have a study buddy over to help her complete her
assignments...maybe a college student or tutor.

If she is having problems staying focused at school as well in
classroom settings, there may be more aspects involved such as
inattentiveness or ADD.
A medical professional would need to make this diagnosis. Just a
thought. Also, if she is becoming more defiant about everything, you
may want to mention Oppositional Defiance Disorder to your niece's

Another issue is that she seems to be attempting to exert a strong
willed disposition. Thus, it becomes a power struggle. Other issues
may be going on in your niece's life that she is refusing to discuss
that have nothing to do with homework. Is she being bullied at school?
Is she having problems with teachers? Does she have low self

Does she try too hard to be a perfectionist? If her behavior
continues, professional counseling may be another alternative.

Nonetheless, there is definitely a block between your daughter and
homework. Does she realize the value of homework? Is school becoming
harder for her but she just doesn't say anything? If she is too bored,
maybe she needs to be tested for accelerated classes. Maybe she can
discuss her feelings with the school psychologist as a start.

Since you mentioned that the mom is on the verge of a nervous
breakdown, the mom may need to seek parenting intervention and coping
strategies in dealing with her daughter from a psychologist. Their
relationship may be suffering because of the tension surrounding the
homework issue. The mother and daughter need to reconnect in a
positive manner.

If you have further concerns, let me know your thoughts. I have
provided you with many issues to think about. Much luck to you. Glad
to assist you on this beautiful day! Thank you.

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