Help for Messy ADHD Children: End the Chore Wars

Real parents of ADD/ADHD children offer their best strategies for getting even the most messy and disorganized children to help out around the house -- without fighting or dragging their feet!


Filed Under: ADHD Housework Tips, Organization Tips for ADHD Kids, Behavior in ADHD Kids
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ADHD child mowing lawn

Getting kids to complete their chores can be a challenge in any household. With families where one or more children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), forgetfulness, difficulty following traditional directions, distractions, and more can affect how quickly housework gets done, if at all. That's why we scoured our website for comments parents who've been there, and done that, have left about getting their kids and teens to help keep the house and their rooms organized. Here's their best advice:

Make Chores Fun, Flexible for ADD/ADHD Children

"My 15-year-old son likes to use his iPod while doing his chores. Doing so helps him focus, especially if I remind him to keep it playing on shuffle (selecting new songs is distracting). I also tell him (and I have to repeat this every week) what he is supposed to do. I explain upfront that if he doesn't do things right he will have to do them over. One thing to avoid: My husband will give a list and then start tacking things onto it after our son has started doing the chores, which really takes away the reward of being finished. Also, I suggest letting your ADD/ADHD child move around as much as she or he likes while doing the work, if possible." -TiggersMom

"Limit the power struggle over doing housework by allowing ADD/ADHD children to have a choice of chores and some flexibility about when they do them. This is where a contract may be in order. For example, if your son mows the lawn, have him make his own schedule -- factoring in rain or other difficulties. If he does not mow the lawn, reduce privileges -- he can't go out on the weekend until they're done." -coachjulie

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