Any tips on how to help a child who is daydreaming and loosing focus become more motivated?
I know that sometimes its hard to motivate our little ones. But I would do whatever it takes to change the cycle. It sounds like she is in a rut. And if one of the beautiful ideas above doesn't work, you may need to try something big enough to break the cycle and re-create a new one at home.
But while you are figuring it out be sure you don't label her. Never use words or phrases like "can you go faster" or "hurry up" or "slow". . . I would be sure to carefully watch her and the moment she is putting on her clothes with determination or the instant she takes a big bite of cereal tell her with descriptive words how wonderful that moment is. Be sure to really give her praise for doing and being. Even if its something as simple as, "I saw the way your eyes looked when you saw the ingredients on the the table for cookies, the seemed to tell me I am so excited about this!" Really watch and emphasize it.
You may need to talk to your child's teacher to see if you can stop homework for awhile. If simple things like using special pencils and pens sitting in a special spot, or switching rolls while you have her teach you, or sticker charts aren't working then you could try something like this:
1. Invent projects that really inspire her. Like Hannah said, knowing what makes them tick is so important. If its dolls, or Pet Shop, or Dora...take that as your springboard. Spend at least a half an hour (in place of homework) doing something different.
Write a play with her for her dolls to act out and record it with your camera.
Watch Dora sitting in thrones you built and pretend to be royal letter counters and everytime she says something that starts with "D" ring a bell...the stranger the better (and if you tell me what she really loves I can help think of random ideas to tailor her).
Anyhow, use reading and writing only for the fun projects.
2. Start using "super speed" and "slow motion" around the house. You model this for her. When you are getting bowls out for breakfast turn your switch to one of the two and let her see you hurry around. Then half way through switch to slow motion. Walk sooooooooo sloooooooow and taaaaalk soooooo slowwwwwly. Do this for a week throughout the day. And then have a more serious conversation that there are times we need to use our different speeds. This way there is nothing "wrong" with daydreaming or moving slowly...help her understand that there are just times for doing the two.
3. When you start homework again, really get excited. Make a production out of starting again. Enjoy it - I even say do part of it because "you are just so excited about it you couldn't help it!"