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Parents of ADHD Children

Tips on Organization

Anyone have any tips to keep an 6 year old boy more organized. I feel like i have to repeat myself a million times a day to pick up his toys, put things back where they go. I feel like I’ve tried everything, but he seems to still not get it. I know children with ADHD are forgetful sometimes, but i know there is something that may help.


Routine, routine, routine.

Posted by staypositive on Jan 03, 2014 at 5:40am

Get a visual schedule. It’s made a huge difference in our life.  I found one on amazon that is magnetic and I can change it day to day. It has everything from wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, feed pets, etc.  both of my boys find it extremely helpful (5 and 4 years) and I don’t need to repeat myself over and over, I just point to the schedule!  I even had it implemented in my son’s kindergarten classroom so transitions are easier for him.  His teacher said its helped the entire class.

Posted by Sporty on Jan 03, 2014 at 6:08am

They just aren’t able to be organized so repeating yourself is doing nothing.  (I still do it of course!)  I heard this from… was it Dr. Barkley?  I wish I had the link still… anyone know which talk I’m thinking of?

The thing you need to do is set up structure that will help him remember.  And a lot of that will be you doing it.  Do the same things each day so even if he doesn’t remember, he knows what to expect.

I’m not a scheduled person naturally, but when there’s school and activities, etc. I have to be to keep things happy in our house.  That means a morning routine where *I* set him an alarm, and *I* get up to make sure he’s up.  *I* go down and make sure he’s eating.  Etc. 

Charts and things never work for us.  He’ll forget to check them.  Or lose interest.  Plus he just doesn’t have the skills to do it… I mean, if it was something teachable, it wouldn’t be ADHD (a brain chemical thing), right?

Each day we sit down by the door as my son walks in and we go through his planner together.  Then we plan out how he’ll get it all done.

That doesn’t mean we’ll be nagging them when they’re 50!  Just that at this point, their skills are not where they should be and they need support.  Hopefully, they’ll either gain those skills themselves with maturity or learn to set up their own structures and reminders that will work for them.

Posted by Rai0414 on Jan 03, 2014 at 6:26am

HI Rai0414 - Dr. Russel Barkely has a great YouTube video called “Essential Ideas for Parents”.  Is this what you were referring to?  Just search the title under YouTube and you’ll find it. It is excellent!

Posted by staypositive on Jan 03, 2014 at 6:42pm

Hi guilloryl1!

My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6. He is now 11 and I still have to ask him to pick up almost everything. And we can’t just ask him to “pick up,” we have to tell him each individual piece one at a time after the previous is accomplished (“Pick up your hot wheels cars and put them in their bucket. Pick up your dirty clothes and put them where they go. How about the Legos? Gather them and put them away…”). One trick to teach him at least part of it is to ask him where HE thinks he should put the items. That at least teaches them to think through where something belongs once they are reminded to put it away.

Your post reminded me of an awesome home-made cleaning up tool I saw on Pinterest several months ago but never made. I’m going to make time to make it today! I love this tool for a kid with ADHD for two reasons: (1) it’s visual and that always holds their attention better and (2), you get to close each window with the magnet after completing each step. As the steps become less, the job is less overwhelming (and more likely to be accomplished) for your child. Making it today!

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 03, 2014 at 7:30pm

Don’t expect him to do it alone.  And stop telling yourself he “doesn’t get it”.  That is a fundamental misunderstanding of ADHD that will only lead you on the path of frustration.  ADHD is not an inability to understand it is an inability to IMPLEMENT!  Huge, huge difference and if you keep thinking he’s not getting it that will season the way you and others in your family treat him and make him feel stupid and belittled.

But if you understand that he needs help implementing and that he understands what needs to be done, you can readily find solutions.  ADHD children are not point and shoot children for the most part.  You can’t just say “go brush your teeth” and expect it to happen just like that.  So get used to doing things with him, especially at this age.  So it’s not “go clean your room” it’s “let’s go clean your room”.  Then tell them how long they must clean for - no longer than ten minutes please or you tax their brains and your frustration.  And you pick up right along side of them.

And yes, routine - but always implemented by you.  Setting a routine does not mean THEY will just do it, it means you get less fuss eventually about doing it.  He is going to probably always need you to remind him of the schedule.  But with a caveat - whatever he finds enjoyable or has an immediate payoff he will more easily do.  But don’t count on him remembering to do things on his own.  It is not that they “forget” so much as it is that they cannot think ahead to future consequences.  So what if he leaves toys on the floor, the point in his brain is he wants to do something else NOW!  And they only have now.

We got our daughter a watchminder watch with up to 30 reminders you can set.  Something like that if you want to implement daily routines at particular times.  My household is not that structured so I only have timers set for things she needs to do while I am not with her.

It is tough, you have to be the brain for both of you in a way and that is not ever going to be easy.

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:05am

Thanks guys very helpful

Posted by guilloryl1 on Jan 04, 2014 at 9:19am

Oh, I feel your pain!! Our 9 year old has to be TOLD every day the same thing over and over and over. It’s maddening!! My question is, at what point does it become just outright defiance or laziness?? I am so sick of hearing I forgot. Is that an excuse?? I mean really, is there no retention at all in these kids?? We have a routine, we have reminder charts, we have reward charts, etc, etc. Nothing works!! Good luck!!

Posted by Claudia Tracy on Jan 05, 2014 at 2:06am

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