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How can I help my child with ADHD be organized?

The most important skill you can help your child to build is the ability to tame his messes. A central problem associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that hurts success in relationships and professional settings is disorganization. Most parents complain that their children don't like to clean their rooms, but ADHD kids take this to a whole new level. By remembering that you can approach their profound disorganization with persistence, advice, and repeated reminders as a coach would, you will get more success than by punishing your child for not following directions to maintain an organized life. You can coach your child toward gaining the basic skills in a playful way that will go much farther than threatening consequences or nagging. The creativity of ADHD children gives them a huge tolerance for big messes. Your child will need constant, gentle reinforcement on a daily basis to ingrain lifelong habits. Organization will most likely always be a weak spot, so have patience.

You can develop basic skills for organization with a fun game called The Magic Can. You and your family can create an enchanted receptacle out of a trash can. This can will be just for the child and can be designed to remind him of his favorite magical stories or characters -- Harry Potter, the Jedi from Star Wars, or whatever engages him. Decorate the can with paint, photos, and sparkles to make it evocative of magic and their favorite wizard or character. Explain to your child that he increases his magic powers by trusting in "the force." He demonstrates this trust by throwing out unneeded papers, broken toys, or other things he no longer needs. Teach him to throw out five things every single day into the magic can. Each time he throws something out, he is to declare, "Let the force be with me," "I clear the way for my magic powers," or some other phrase or affirmation that empowers him and demonstrates the benefits of clearing out his messes.

In addition to a garbage can, you can create variations on the principle of clearing way for the force with a dirty clothes hamper, a toy storage bin, or a bookshelf, among endless possibilities. The point is to reinforce, on a daily basis, small steps toward organization. If your child is younger and more into monsters, dragons, or dinosaurs, you can decorate the bins or garbage cans as a monster and tell him that he has to keep the monster tame by feeding it every day.
The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths (Companion)

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The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths (Companion)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.