Realistically Resolve to Reorganize

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organizing adhd child

Mike is not our most organized child…

How do you see the new year? Just another day? Or is this the year to bring about the changes you’ve longed for?

New Year’s resolutions can be tricky. While it’s great to set goals, pinpointing achievable goals is a delicate balance between simple, challenging and downright unrealistic.

Organizing a child or teen with ADHD-inattentive tendencies sounds impossible – like the proverbial nailing of Jello to the wall or herding cats. But finding ways to help your child is achievable. As parents and advocates, your job is two-fold: 1) simplify the task. 2) equip the child for the task.

How do you do it? Take a look at the following New Year’s Countdown and see what might work in your own arsenal of helpful hints:

10. Steady, stocked study area. Children and even teens with an ADHD diagnosis truly long for structure and routine. At our house, the desks in their rooms were rarely used, but the dining room table stayed occupied. Lesley routinely used a small box with drawers that held her homework supplies. Just as a chef doesn’t waste time looking for a lemon zester in the middle of the dinner rush, your student shouldn’t waste time in the middle of an assignment looking for a highlighter or pencil trimmer. Having the proper tools prepared for the job is crucial. (And who knows how long it would take your child to re-focus after what might be hunt for the proverbial needle in a haystack?)

9. Sing the supply closet song. “Yeah, yeah, I got it! Yeah, yeah – no running-to-the-store bit.” No one wants to run to Wallyworld in search of a poster board for tomorrow’s book report. In Kayla’s house and in our house, we made the habit of stocking up during clearance or back-to-school promotions. Think about these items and where you could fit them in: ink cartridges, pens, pencils, folders, binders, colored pencils, paper clips, notebooks, notebook paper, construction paper. Here’s an exhausting (and yes, we did mean exhausting!) suggested supply list that will help you think about all the items your child continually needs throughout the school year Don’t be caught unaware!

8. On Timer. We talk about them a lot – because they work! Check out this list of our favorite ADHD timers.

7. Cubby or file cabinet for extracurricular “props.” Through the years, our three children have referred to (and sometimes practiced) music for 8 different musical instruments, scripts for various plays and sports equipment sporadically — fortunately not simultaneously. Having a cubby or special place simplifies the search.

6. Successful Launch. Have one ‘launching pad’ to put everything that goes out of the house in the morning. Clothes, lunch money, cleats, books, notes, homework, projects, keys, cell phone, bookbags… If the customized spot is close to your shining star’s favorite exit, you’re truly ahead in this game.

5. Tablets, smart phones, laptops and the Kindle – technology helps. You might want the basic (read non-distracting) Kindle for an ADHD child. They’ve proven to be invaluable for our kids.

4. The PAC-kit. Another tried and true system for keeping up with assignments and supplies for homework. It’s the system we designed to use with our own kids. Tried, true, teacher and parent approved. Read more about it here.

3. LiveScribe Pens. Some schools (not ours…) are actually providing funding for students with ADHD to have these ingenious pens. They make a recording of what the teacher (or your student) says, while they are taking notes, digitize notes, make study sheets…. Look at this video about LiveScribe for a better explanation. They’re definitely something that you should think about for your high school or college student – or your budding business person.

2. Binge on PURGING. Get rid of stuff. For some of you it’s hard, we know. We can almost issue a blanket statement and say, “Your kids have too many toys, too many clothes, and too much stuff. And so do you.” If you truly can’t get rid of things, then read and be challenged, inspired and nagged by The Fly Lady. Let this be the year!

1. Right Where You Need It! Keep underwear and pajamas in the bathroom. (Don’t fold them…) Store socks and shoes near the launching pad mentioned above. Stock your car with a small office supply kit that holds scissors and tape and glue sticks. Rethink where you keep things.

You still have a few more days until the New Year. Realistically resolve to reorganize. And let us know how it’s going below!