ADHD children are notoriously disorganized — which can lead to frustrated nagging, angry blowouts, and hurt feelings. Following this detailed, straightforward 30-day plan — and keeping your child involved every step of the way — will put her on the right track to getting organized, and learning how to stay that way.
Day 1: Clear Off the Bed
Your child's bed should be for sleeping, not storage. Clear off any clothes, stray papers, or LEGO pieces that may have mysteriously made it into your child's bed, and enlist his help in changing the sheets. Have your child pick one stuffed animal that will stay on his bed — all others are sent to the playroom or to the toy box. Ensure him that he can swap the stuffed animal for another one any time he likes — as long as only one comes back.
Day 2: Sort Through the Desk
If your child's desk is more of a madhouse than a workspace, you'll need to revamp it with a whole new organizational system. Buy brightly colored boxes, Tupperware-type drawers, or hanging files to separate your child's belongings into labeled places. Important papers can go in the big bottom drawer, while pens and markers can go in boxes in the smaller top drawer. Tell your child she can help you organize it however she wants — as long as she works hard to keep it that way.
Day 3: Set Up a Clear Spot for Trash
If the room is short on space, this can be as simple as a bag on the door handle. The important thing is to give your child a designated spot for trash in his personal space — so you're not digging out candy wrappers from under his pillow.
Day 4: Organize the Bookshelf
Set aside a few hours on a Sunday to go through all your child's books. Which can be donated? Given as gifts? Talk to your child and figure out how she thinks they should be organized. Does she like them alphabetical? By subject? By color, even? Remember, the easier it is for her to find the books she likes, the more likely she is to read them!
Day 5: Set Up a Reading Spot
If your child is a big reader, set up a comfy chair or a beanbag near the bookshelf so he can curl up with a book whenever the urge strikes. Keeping books close to the bookshelf — even when they’re in use — gives them a higher chance of being put away properly.
Day 6: When In Doubt, Label
If your child is particularly prone to disorganization (as many ADHD kids are), stick labels everywhere — and we mean everywhere. Bookshelves, dresser drawers, hangers. If your child is younger, try putting pictures next to the words.
Day 7: Monsters Under the Bed
If your child's idea of "cleaning her room" is to shove everything under her bed, make that tougher for her to do by using the under-the-bed space as extra storage. Get some clear plastic bins and throw in sports equipment, extra sheets, or anything else that needs a home. Just make sure the boxes are clearly labeled.