Published on ADDitudeMag.com
10 Ways to Get Your ADHD Child Organized
Organization help to transform even the messiest children with ADHD into neatniks — and help prepare them for life on their own.
by the ADDitude Editors
you forget the color of the carpet in your child’s room? Does his backpack
like a tornado turned it upside down? Disorganization is a common ADHD trait. The
good news is there are ways to get your child more organized. Here are our best kid-friendly clutter-control tips!
Use Visual Cues
children with ADHD are visual processors
. For school binders, papers, and
notebooks, consider color-coding with a different color for each subject.
Trying using one color for homework, and another color for papers that stay
home. Around the house, use open shelving or clear containers with labels to
keep rooms tidy. Clear-plastic, over-the-door shoe holders are a great place to
keep small items that are easily lost.
Show — Don't Just Tell
is passed down in families
, so there's a good chance you or your partner has ADHD
and is just as disorganized. It is hard to teach organization skills if you
don’t have them yourself. If that’s the case, working hard to set up
organizational systems in your house will benefit everyone, not just your
child. When your child sees that organization is important to you, it
reinforces why it should be important to him.
Ask for Your Child's Input
creating organizational systems for your home, ask for your child’s input. When
he is involved in structuring the routines
, he has more of a stake in the
outcome and may be more likely to follow the routine. If the system isn’t
working, bring your child into the discussion to find out what you can change
to make it more effective.
Simplify and Declutter
you are like most people, you have a lot more "stuff" than you use. Simplify
your home, so it is easier to keep it neat. Keep five toys out
and pack the rest in a box; every few weeks, rotate the toys. If your child
"needs" a toy from the box, let him know he must put one away. Go through your
child’s room and do the same with books and clothes. The less he needs to put
away, the tidier the room stays.
Hang Up a Laminated List
up your room" means different things to different people. You may mean make the
bed, pick up the toys, put dirty clothes in the hamper, and so on — but to your
child, it may mean throw everything under the bed. Be clear about what you
expect. Make a checklist of tasks
, laminate it, and tack it up on the back of
your child’s bedroom door. When you say, "Clean up your room," he can follow
the checklist and mark off each item as it is completed.
Ease the Morning Rush
out the door in the morning
is much easier if everything your child needs is in
one place. Place a shelf or basket by the front door designated for school
items. The night before, when homework is completed, all school items go right
into the backpack and/or the basket. Deposit any extra papers, lunch, sport
clothes, equipment, or miscellaneous items for school in the basket. Your child
knows he has everything he needs when the basket is empty.
Practice Backpack Hygiene
to as "black holes," backpacks are a gathering place for every piece of paper
your child touches each day. Make backpack organization a part of daily
. Before your child begins homework each evening, take the first two
minutes to clean papers out of his backpack and organize them into folders.
Bonus: This simple habit helps students transition into doing homework.
Think In the Box
can’t do my homework because I can’t find a pencil." Have you heard that
before? Homework time goes much smoother when school supplies are easily
accessible. Use an old shoebox to create a homework supply box with pencils,
pens, crayons, paper, a ruler, glue sticks, a calculator, and any other items
your child regularly needs. Once homework is completed, all supplies go right
back into the box.
Work on Timing Tasks
with ADHD find it hard to estimate how long a task will take. Your child may
think that washing the dishes will take five minutes, but you know, it probably
will take 20. When starting a new routine, have your child use a kitchen timer
or a stopwatch to time how long each step takes.
Try these apps
for some high-tech help.
Praise Effort, Not Results
on what your child is doing right. If he attempted to organize his backpack
let him know you appreciate the effort. If he went through the checklist to
clean his room but forgot one step, praise him for sticking with it and
completing most of the tasks. Experts suggest that parents give five positive
statements for every negative, disapproving one.
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