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Tips for ADHD at Home

ADHD At Home

Photo Taken from the Academy at SOAR

ADHD at home, or ADD or any type of learning disability, can certainly turn a cozy living space into a disaster. Any child can come into a room and take toys and set up games and building blocks and completely take over an area. We know this as parents. What are we left with? A giant mess to clean up?

Well, here are some tips to help motivate kids to keep a clean space, as well as instill some essential life skills that will be useful later on.

  • Make cleanliness the norm. I know, as parents it’s extremely difficult to keep everything clean. But start with your own areas, your bathroom, your room, the kitchen, dad’s den etc. and set an example for your kids. Work to maintain the level of cleanliness, rather than let it pile up and save it all for a Sunday afternoon. It becomes easier to maintain a space than to clean up a mess every week. This includes things like putting your dishes in the sink, cleaning up any food or snack mess we ate immediately after making it, etc. Our kids will follow suit, and following the other ideas below, may start helping, rather than devastating.
  • Turn “Clean-up Time” into a game. We know that with young children it’s pretty easy to turn anything into a game and have them do it with enthusiasm. But as kids get older this becomes more difficult. Take it from their perspective, why would I play a game that offers a challenge but no reward? Start thinking of creative ways to interpret a mess that relates to your kid (like dragons are coming and we have to put all our toys away before they burn them up!), and offer a reward or an incentive, it doesn’t have to be material. You can simply take a pretend sword and knight your child as protector of living-roomland. If you start to do this, you’re actually instilling the habit into them that, after we play, we clean. And suddenly you can just ask them to start putting things away and they’ll just do it. Not to say that sometimes they won’t need some extra motivation from you.
  • Add a level of organization to a space. Giving things a certain order helps kids of any age learn to keep order for themselves. Knowing that everything has a place removes an added level of difficulty for the easily distracted mind. Everyone has their own system of organization that works for them, but some ideas might be creating a shelf with drawers that have names on them for certain things, like utensils, pen/pencils, paper, legos, action figures, horses, etc. Once they have a system of organization help them remember how to maintain it and start to stand back to see if they begin to maintain it themselves.

Remember, there’s a lot of trial and error here, and if something clearly doesn’t work, move on! Give things a fair chance to stick, because creating habits take time. Most of all, be as loving as possible and have a lot of patience!