5 Ways to Help Your ADHD Child Stay Organized

ADHD Issues & Info

5 Ways to Help Your ADHD Child Stay Organized

Adults and children alike can suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and those who do often struggle to keep organized and on-task. Across 10 countries, it has been estimated that every year ADHD causes 143.8 million days’ worth of lost productivity. The American Psychiatric Association reports that about 5% of American children suffer from the disorder, and as of 2011, 17.5% of those children were not being treated by a counselor or medication.

So what can be done to alleviate distraction and boost school or workplace productivity for those individuals with ADHD?

Organizing for ADHD

Keeping things organized can reduce distractions and improve focus. Here are some simple tips to keep this school year better organized, for both parents and children:

1. Set up binders:
Having clearly labeled binders with pockets for finished, in progress and graded homework can keep essential school papers from going astray. The system must make sense in order for your child to use it, so make sure that it’s really ‘user friendly.’

2. Color code:
If your child is old enough that certain classes are only held on some days, try color-coding associated materials to avoid forgotten textbooks or class supplies. For example, coordinate everything for math class by choosing a red book cover, binder and accessory pouch (for calculator, ruler, compass, etc.).

3. Prepare in advance:
It’s easy for things to get lost in the morning hustle out the door. Making choices can be overwhelming for ADHD children, so have them pick clothes and lay out supplies the evening before, and even go so far as to place the backpack and needed items at the exit door before going to sleep.

4. Set a clean-out time:
Make filing and organizing paperwork a regular part of the routine instead of waiting until there’s a daunting pile. Have your child hole punch what needs to be put in binders, scan important documents that need backups and recycle what is no longer needed. Model good behavior by doing the same with your own work papers and the mail.Friday after school is an excellent time to do this as there is often less homework, if any at all, and the upcoming week gets of to an ‘organized’ start.

5. Give positive reinforcement:
It’s tempting to respond negatively to messes, missed deadlines and lost objects. Instead, practice thanking everyone in your family for being clean, finishing on time and having everything handy.

Getting Outside Organizational Coaching
If a child is struggling to maintain organizational systems, punishment is never the answer. And even well-meaning-parents may struggle with how to handle the frustration of a child who is unable to stay focused. Untrained behavioral coaching from a parent can come off as discouraging nagging, straining the relationship between parent and child when support is most necessary.

Getting help from an organization coach may be a better option if simply following organization tips isn’t enough. Organization coaching can help individual families to not only come up with solutions for specific challenges, but also build better organizational habits that simplify life and minimize distractions.