Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: The LEGOs Everywhere, All the Time Problem

Does your child need constant reminders to clean up her room, brush her teeth, or put her LEGOs away? It’s a common problem for children, tweens, and teens with ADHD, who may not have the executive functions necessary to manage these multi-step tasks on their own. Here, our organizing coach offers a simple solution for a forgetful (and messy) child with ADHD.

Q: “My daughter needs constant reminders to clean up her room, clean up after crafts, arrange her school supplies, etc., on a daily basis. I have posted daily morning and nighttime routines to help her, but she forgets to consult them in a consistent way. I homeschool and I have another child with special needs, so I am struggling to remind her consistently.” —Homeschool mom

Hi Homeschool Mom:

Before we dive in, I need to ask: Does your daughter know how to get things done? You said you have checklists posted to help her move through her routines. Personally, I have never found checklists particularly helpful. Eventually they become clutter. I much prefer directions! Let me give you an example.

Let’s say one checklist item is “clean up LEGOs.” Instead of just writing that, let’s give her step-by-step instructions that go something like this: “LEGOs on the floor > LEGOs in the bin > Bin on the shelf.”  Want to have some fun with it? Take photos of your daughter doing each step and post those so she sees how to move through her routine. Visual prompts and support help us remember what we need to accomplish.

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Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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