How to Organize your ADHD Child
If you have a child diagnosed with ADHD you are probably at your wits end, when it comes to dealing with all the regular frustrations that one deals with when raising a child with these challenges. An ADHD child requires a great level of organization, parental involvement and structure.
Here are some practical ways that you can help organize your ADHD child:
- Consistent Work Place for Homework:
- Their work area needs to be clutter free and everything at his/her desk must have a place.
- You will need a container permanently stored in this area with all of their stationery included for only homework. Label this container “Homework Stationery” and discourage your child from walking off with this container to another part of the house.
- You also need a shelf in this desk area with all their textbooks lined up. If your child is on a 504 or IEP, it is possible to request a second set of textbooks for home.
- Have a White Board Calendar above the desk area. This allows the student to visually see all of their future assignments and due dates. The parent can also use this system to help their child plan for those assignments and not leave it for the day before.
- Visual cues are also a great help to ADHD children. Instead of purchasing a large subject binder for all the subjects, allow the student to choose a different color folder for each subject. Label each subject and ensure that each binder has paper in it. If the child has trouble writing down their homework. You could also print out a Homework Page for each subject and place this in the folder. This keeps things simple for the student as he doesn’t have to take out multiple books in each class.
- Make use of a timer for homework sessions or for chores. This helps keep the student on task and gives them a visual indication of what is a reasonable time period to get things done in.
- You always want to make sure that your son/daughter take two minutes a day to remove the junk from their backpacks and keep it clutter free.
- Have the backpack all packed and ready to go, the night before. This prevents the anxious morning rush trying to find things.
- Daily Chores around the Home:
- An ADHD child has a hard time following through with verbal instructions as they have so much stimuli coming at them.
- An ADHD child learns better by you showing him/her first hand instead of just telling.
- Create a laminated chart of your “Cleaning Expectations” that you have for them cleaning their room. Step by step instructions that they can check off as they go along. That way, when you instruct him/her to clean their room, the message is clear as to what you expect from them.
- If you give auditory instructions for chores, try limiting it to a maximum of 2 instructions at a time. While written instructions will always provide better results, as the child can check off as they go along.
- Again a timer assists the child in providing them with a realistic time frame in which you expect things to be done in.
- As a parent you also want to be sure to praise the effort and not always focus on the result, as this can be very disheartening when an ADHD child always struggles obtaining your desired standard.
- Bedroom Order:
- The older your son/daughter is, the more involved they may want to be in setting a system up in their room.
- You want to constantly help your child to declutter their room as the paper level and clothes level on the floor can eventually take over the whole carpet.
- Place a large clothing hamper in the location of where your child undresses. Hopefully he/she can aim for the basket instead of the floor.
- Assist your child by finding a “home” for every item in their room. Try and make use of various bins and label both the bin and the shelf on which it goes. Your child must be taught from a young age to always put things back in their home.
- Another good lesson to teach your child from young is to replace whatever they have, before removing a new item from their shelf. That prevents the room being taken over by toys.
- Younger children may also benefit from the parent purchasing a weekly clothing organizer. So that when your child gets ready in the morning, they needn’t struggle finding an item as the day’s clothes are already all set up for them.
Remember that sometimes you may have to review your system that you have put in place and perhaps tweak it to fit your child’s personality. The important thing is to always stay positive and be an encouragement to your child. In his/her world the struggle is enormous and home needs to be a safe place for your child to come and unwind at the end of a hard day.