5 Steps to Keep Your Teen Organized with ADHD
5 Steps to Keep Your Teen Organized with AD/HD and Learning Disabilities
Keep a Schedule
Of everything. Classes, due dates, appointments, etc. and use it often. Get a schedule that your teen is going to like the look of, rather than something plain. It’ll make them feel more attached to using it. Write due dates for important assignments and exams in red pen so they can be seen easily. Keeping a schedule is crucial in adulthood and it’s important to start developing these habits now.
Maintain a Contact Book
We all know that teens lose things, a lot. How many times have you had to replace a lost or broken phone? Teens have contacts too, their friends, their teachers’ email addresses, the school, the doctor, mom’s work, etc. Help them create a digital list on Google documents or an excel spreadsheet so they can recover their information after an accident. Because grown-ups have accidents too, and sometimes we lose our data. Establishing safety measures and precautions helps reduce the chaos that follows.
Build a System
Help your teen build a system of organization that is intuitive for them that they can understand. It’s important that you see this role as a facilitator, rather than the one who decides how it’s done. Your way may not work for your son or daughter, just like someone else’s way might not always work for you! You can offer suggestions, like a set of drawers with labels for specific things, or pen holders, etc. Even simple ways of organizing in a system builds consistency in a teen’s life, and that’s really important, especially for the teen with AD/HD or LD. That consistency turns into confidence (through knowing where things are), efficiency (through finding things quickly) and neatness (by keeping things in their places).
Keep To-Do and Want Lists
To-do lists and Want lists are two different things. To-do lists are things that have to get done to make sure there aren’t negative consequences. Want lists are things to strive for, things to achieve; these can be items such as a new phone or iPad, or goal related, like being accepted into the national honor society or graduating from high school. It’s important to give as much attention to the Want list as it is to the to-do list. This will help your teen to be able to manage what needs to be done, and attain what they desire out of life.
A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Help your teen learn how to identify what can be A. Thrown away, B. Filed, C. Kept out for use. Being able to distinguish these key aspects makes it a lot easier to keep a space clean. If the first question you ask yourself is “what’s not being used?” You can quickly come up with some things to categorize into A, B and C.
Most importantly, set aside a time to do these things and keep regular maintenance. Things can get piled up, so a weekly or bi weekly organization session might be a good thing to consider!
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