Get to soccer practice ... finish homework ... cook dinner ... Our lives are full of "to do" lists. It's no surprise many people have trouble staying organized. When a family is coping with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) too, the disorder can make it harder to keep track of day-to-day activities and priorities.
ADHD affects 8.7 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, and is defined by symptoms of inattention, hyperactive and impulsive behavior. It's probably no surprise to learn organizational skills may be affected. It might be surprising, however, to find out that not all organizational methods are created equal, and some work better for people with ADHD. A new resource available at www.OrganizeADHD.com, provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, suggests strategies designed to help families with ADHD get and stay organized.
There are some simple steps you can take to manage organization, get the whole family involved, and make tidying up an easy, five-minute task instead of an all-day affair.
The Kitchen is Not the Playroom
The more stuff we own, the more difficult it is to find places to store it all. When this happens, sometimes our things enter spaces that they don't belong, and the kitchen becomes the playroom. One easy fix for this problem is to designate rooms or spaces in the house for each activity.
The first step is to examine your items, tackling only one room or project at a time. Gather all your kids' toys, look at the condition they're in and decide whether they can be kept, donated or thrown away. Next, give your kids a place of their own by assigning a room or space in one room where they can store, access and play with their toys.
For ADHD-friendly storage, use shelves and open-faced or clear bins so your kids can easily see the toy they want and take just that one out without dumping out the bin's entire contents. This approach isn't limited to toys and can be used to organize office materials and other possessions that can create clutter.
Streamline Chores and Responsibilities
That's one way to tackle a big job, but there are lots of little steps you can take to help your whole family, including those with ADHD, keep the house a little more organized.
-- When your child's done with his homework, put it right in front of the door. If he has to move it out of his way to leave for school, he'll have a harder time forgetting it.
-- An ADHD-friendly solution to homework frustration is to have one large notebook with dividers for each subject. One with folders can help keep all school papers in one place.