Ask the Experts

Q: My Child Wastes So Much Time and Energy!

There is no one correct way to get organized. Every child’s brain works differently, so the key is zoning in on what system will stick in your household and then implementing and support it without judgment. Here are a few ideas.

“How can I help my child become organized and more efficient?”  –MrsMommyElle

Hi MrsMommyElle:

Your question is among the most common – and commonly frustrating  for parents of children with ADHD. So here are my general rules of thumb.

  1. Recognize your child’s organizing style. We each have our own unique organizing style. Start by asking your child, “What system is going to work for YOU?” If they need to see their stuff so they know it exists, then remove their closet door. If folding clothes isn’t their thing, replace the dresser with bins where they can toss t-shirts, jeans, socks and underwear. If they detest hanging up clothes on hangers, ditch the closet rod and hang hooks instead.
  2. Does your child know how to get things done? Make sure, when asking your child to do something, you ask if he understands EXACTLY what you are asking him to do and if he knows how. Teach him specific routines to be sure that he knows where things go and what to do. Step-by-step instructions and visual prompts will help him to remember what he needs to accomplish.

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  1. Clear is king. If your child can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Clear folders, notebooks, dividers, even bins and baskets in his bedroom will give him a natural way to receive visual reminders of the physical locations of his resources. This is KEY for your child to become more efficient.
  2. If it takes more than two steps… your child won’t do it. Think un-fussy and streamlined. Take a tour of your child’s room using THEIR height as your guide. Can they open the closet door easily? Reach the rod and shelves? Are the dresser drawers too hard to open? Is the dresser crammed full? And don’t forget about shelving. Is there enough space for books, memorabilia? Eliminate any roadblocks!

Good Luck!

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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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