Ask the Experts

Q: How Do I Solve the Getting-in-to-the-Routine Habit Problem?

Children with ADHD have delayed executive functions — which means setting up (and sticking to) routines rarely comes easy to them. Learn how parents can help children stay organized, manage to-do lists, and complete daily chores, while keeping expectations age- and ADHD-appropriate.

Q: “Do you have solutions for getting and staying organized at home for my boys, and helping them complete the day-to-day tasks when they have executive function issues?” —GeorgiaMomAtWitsEnd

Hi GeorgiaMomAtWitsEnd:

We’ve all been there!  Here are a few of my favorite tips to get you started.

  1. Set up a launching pad.This is a designated place in your home to keep the belongings that go back and forth to school everyday. A launching pad takes the stress of “I can’t find my notebook” or “where are my gym sneakers” out of the equation. Remember to pick a location heavily trafficked by your children. It could be by the front door, in the mud room, or even outside their bedrooms. Backpacks, completed homework, library books, instruments, and gym clothes should all be stored here.
  2. Hang analog clocks.Hang a clock in each room of the house used regularly by your child — especially the bathroom. The hands of an analog clock allow you to “see” time move, which helps a child understand how long it takes to complete each task and how much time she has before moving to another activity.
  3. Reminders help. Mornings are hectic in most households. So hang a wipe board or giant post-it notes next to your child’s clock with the time he needs to complete each task (with your assistance, if needed). This can add to your child’s sense of accomplishment and set a positive tone for the day.

Our Editors Also Recommend:

Free Download: Sample Schedules for Reliable Family Routines
School Organization 101: Clutter-Free Backpacks and Bedrooms
The Parent’s Guide to Executive Functioning Skills

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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