Category: ADD

Back to School for Your ADHD Family

Back to School for your ADHD Family


The start of a new school year can be empowering and difficult.  It brings the promise of a new teacher and a fresh start, as well as the fear of previous challenges.  For your ADHD family, back to school is a new beginning each and every year.


Clean slate

Back to school for your ADHD family is a great clean slate. It’s about starting off with fresh energy.  There’s excitement in collaborating with a new teacher.  Start your year off with a family meeting about the successes from last year. What worked well? What didn’t?  Starting off with a successful, solutions oriented perspective will make this the best year for your family.


School supplies

There are many ways to set up binders and accordion files for your child.  There are many different school supplies.  Rely on your school district supply list and check your own supplies.  Coach your child to set up a binder system and school supplies that work for him/her.  A homework folder or pocket in the binder where all homework comes and returns makes it easy to keep up with this paper.  The best systems are the most simple.


School and Homework routines

One of the hardest parts of school is homework routines.  It’s all about consistency.  Set a time for homework to start and finish after school. Starting after a snack and short break makes it easier to complete homework.  Set up a homework spot with an additional set of supplies for your child.  Partner with your child to prioritize the daily assignments, working in small time slots. Using a timer can be a bonus for getting started and working without distractions.


A critical element for all routines is good rest.  Set bedtimes for parents and kids.  Start early getting to bed, eliminating blue screens at least an hour before bedtime.  Have a charging station in a public spot for all electronics in the home.  A good night’s rest is a great way to be sure everyone is working at their full potential.


Set up a landing strip where kids backpacks, your purse, and possibly shoes are housed.  There’s no scrambling in the morning when there’s only one spot.  Clean out backpacks and purses weekly.


Team communication

Parents, teachers and counselors working as a team is the best for everyone.  If your child has a 504 plan or IEP, review that early in the year.  Frequent communication by email helps everyone work together.  Start the year off with an email to your child’s teachers sharing his/her strengths and noting where help is needed most.   Establishing a trust relationship takes time, but working as a team is best for your child.


Gathering a team of resources is an asset. Your child can benefit from work with a counselor, professional organizer or homework buddy.  In having a team you can learn and share what works with each professional.


Check out my pinterest boards for more ideas for students and ADHD


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Make Your Biz Bigger, Brighter, Bolder and Better: ADHD Resources

Small business organzing and productivity


Resources and education make the difference.  The more you know, the more solutions you can find.  Included below are some of my favorite ADHD resources for books, websites, blogs and people to follow.

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Kathleen Nadeau and Judith Kohlberg
Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
Healing ADD: 6 Types of ADD by Daniel Amen
Taking Charge of Your ADHD by Russell Barkley
More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD by Ari Tuckman

Websites (lots of webinars, blogs, and more on here) (resources listed here) (chapters listed here)

Podcasts webinars

People to follow
Ari Tuckman
Laura Rolands
Andrea Sharb


A special thank you to our product sponsors!





Meet the ADHD Expert Laura Rolands

Laura Rolands


Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts.  In this series of  Meet the ADHD Expert, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD.  Let me introduce guest blogger Laura Rolands.



Laura Rolands of is an ADHD Coach who helps adults with ADHD/ADD pay attention, improve their time management skills and increase productivity.  Her clients include students, adult and organizations looking for help with time management, productivity, organization, procrastination and other challenges related to ADD or ADHD.  Register for Laura’s free time management guide on her website at and listen to her radio show archives at


What was your first experience with ADHD?

I first learned about ADHD when talking with teachers at my child’s schools about attention challenges that we didn’t know how to resolve at the time.  It was a frustrating experience in the beginning, but we worked together to develop strategies that have helped my child succeed.  In reality, I saw ADHD, however for years in my work as a Human Resources professional.  I just didn’t know how to recognize it at the time.


What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD?

While it can happen, ADHD challenges do not typically go away with age. New challenges can present themselves later in life after the structure provided by parents is no longer applicable.  Being aware of this can help the adults with ADHD to identify and develop strategies to assist them personally and professionally.  Taking proactive action can also help build self-confidence.


What is your best tip for ADHD?

Be on the lookout for overcommitment and learn how to say no.  ADHD can cause impulsivity that can lead to a calendar and to do list that is literally overflowing. Learn to say “no” to gain positive control over your commitments and schedule.  Follow these skill-building steps:

  • Identify situations where you make impulsive decisions to accept new projects or tasks..
  • Rehearse saying “no” before entering the situation.  For example, saying, “No thanks, I just can’t add anything new to my plate right now.”  Avoid long explanations; they leave too much open to debate with the requestor.
  • Practice your statement five times before entering the situation.
  • Evaluate your progress and praise yourself to celebrate success.

It takes daily practice to build this skill.  Start practicing today to “no” into a positive!


What is your morning like?

Mornings are relatively long at my house with the first alarm sounding at 5:10am and the last person leaving the house around 7:45am.  There are 4 of us who wake up, get ready and head to work and school at various times.  Mornings are rarely hectic though and I am thankful that my kids get out of bed without too much prodding.


Stay connected to Laura







Meet the ADHD Expert Andrea Sharb

Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts.  In this series of  Meet the ADHD Expert, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD.  Let me introduce guest blogger Andrea Sharb.


Andrea Sharb


Andrea Sharb, ACC®, CPO-CD®, COC®, and CPO® is owner of S.O.S.~Sharb Organizing Solutions, LLC and a trainer for the Coach Approach for Organizers.   Since 2006, Andrea has specialized in Helping Others Overcome Overwhelm™.  Her most rewarding work is with chronically disorganized clients, especially Adults with ADHD or those who wonder if they have ADHD. She also works with individuals who want to gain better control over their physical space, time or life.  A certified coach, her approach, is grounded in helping clients raise their awareness around how their challenges are impacting them.  With awareness raised she assists them in creating strategies for a more organized, productive and fulfilling life.  She then supports her clients in the implementation of those strategies.  Her goal is to not only teach her clients techniques for clearing the clutter from their lives, but to empower them to make changes leading to a more organized lifestyle.  In addition to working with organizing clients, she provides mentor-coaching services to professional organizers.


What was your first experience with ADHD?

I first became aware of ADHD in my work as a professional organizer.  What I noticed most was how I identified personally with many of the struggles of my ADHD clients.  I had always been good at organizing physical spaces. But, was challenged when it came to managing my time and dealing with overwhelm that resulted from taking on too many shiny, new activities.  As I learned more about ADHD, in order to better serve my ADHD clients, I began to suspect I was dealing with ADHD myself.  I was formally diagnosed with combined type ADHD a few years ago.


What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD?

What I most want people to know is that ADHD is not a sentence to a lesser life.  Change is possible, but it takes building awareness about your ADHD and your strengths, designing actions and developing accountability around those actions, and creating supportive systems. An ADHD coach can serve as a guide in all of these areas.

What is your best tip for ADHD?

When you learn something that works for you, it’s important to find a way to remind yourself of it, so you can continue to use it to support you.  Unfortunately ADHD often results in us forgetting what supports us most.  Document what works best for you on a list of best practices, and review it regularly.


What is your morning like? 

Great question Ellen!  I’d love to be able to tell you my mornings are well ordered, but they tend to be a little inconsistent depending upon whether I have an early morning appointment.  If I have an early morning appointment, the external accountability makes all the difference in motivating me through what needs to be accomplished before I leave.  If my first appointment isn’t until later in the morning, things get a little more challenging.   Early morning appointment or not, there are some constants:  Before I even get out of bed I review my best practices on my iPad and check my calendar for the day.  If my first appointment is a little later in the morning I also clear the email that filled my inbox over night.


The next step is dealing with what I call my linked activities:  putting in contacts, brushing teeth and getting dressed for exercise.  No matter what the day, these tasks almost always seem tough to tackle.  Putting in the contacts is easiest, because being able to see has the biggest payoff.  From there it is a matter of talking myself into doing just one more thing.  “Ok, contacts are in, all you need to do now is brush your teeth.”  “Alright, all you need to do now is get dressed and put your hair up.”  There is a lot of self-talk going on in my house in the morning.


If I have an early morning appointment, I head straight to the treadmill.  Exercise shifts my brain into gear and can make all the difference in how my day goes.  I do a lot of my professional reading while I’m on the treadmill because reading becomes so much easier for me when I’m moving.  (My husband will tell you that if I read while sitting in a chair I tend to fall asleep, which isn’t terribly conducive to learning.)


A later morning appointment can result in procrastination around exercise, so I’ll usually end up working backwards from the time I have to leave and calculating the latest time that I can get on the treadmill.  Setting a timer for this time and placing it in another room makes all the difference when it comes to transitioning me to the treadmill.


After exercise, breakfast and a shower, it’s time to start the day.


Anything else you want to share? 

Just to say thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers and to pass along the following: The way your brain works is not your choice. How you respond to the way your brain works is.  What choices will you make with respect to your ADHD and overcoming your own overwhelm?


Stay connected to Andrea





Holiday Organizing: 5 ADHD Holiday Tips

add and adhd holiday tips


Shiny! Glittery! Oooo ahh! The holidays are filled with fun and frenzy.  The holidays can be overwhelming!  Follow these five ADHD holiday tips to help you have a very merry holiday!



holiday calendar for time management

holiday calendar

 Holiday family calendar

Make a list of your family’s priorities for the holiday season.  Add these to your family calendar to guard that time together.

holiday to do list and notebook

Holiday To Do List

Holiday notebook

Keep your holiday thoughts together in one spot.  A holiday binder, spiral or online tool like Evernote keeps all your ideas, wishes, and details together.  No more searching for scraps of paper.

holiday gift list and gift giving

holiday gift giving

 Holiday gift list

Create a list of gift recipients and your purchases. You can use a smart phone app like Notes or keep your list in your holiday notebook.  Think about clutter free gifts that include experiences.


holiday decorating and organizing

holiday decoration and organization

 Holiday decorations

Gather your team (of family, friends or “teens you rent from church’) to help you decorate. Set up a time line on your calendar for when you want to start and when you want to finish.

holiday time management

holiday spirits

 Holiday Spirit

Keep up your holiday spirits with lots of rest and nourishment.  Carrots make reindeer fly and your veggies will help you too!




Join me on pinterest to enjoy more holiday ideas at Happy Holidays!

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Meet the ADHD Expert Ari Tuckman

Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts.  In this series of  Meet the ADHD Experts, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD.  Let me introduce guest blogger Ari Tuckman.


Ari Tuckman




Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA is the author of three books:  “Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook”, “More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD” and “Integrative Treatment for Adult ADHD: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for Clinicians”. His “More Attention, Less Deficit” podcast has over one hundred episodes and is approaching one and a half million downloads. He is a psychologist in private practice in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


What was your first experience with ADHD

I fell into working with adults with ADHD when a psychiatrist asked me whether I wanted to help his patients with practical matters of daily life. He found the medication to be helpful with the basic symptoms, but these patients needed help with the skills of time management, organization, prioritization, procrastination, etc. At the time (1998), few clinicians specialized in ADHD in adults, so there was a great unmet need. My joke is that if you knew three things about adult ADHD, then you were the expert in town. Now you have to know four. So it is slowly getting better.


What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD

ADHD can be very impairing before it is diagnosed and treated. But the good news is that there is a lot you can do to make someone’s life better once they know that it is ADHD that underlies a lot of their difficulties. ADHD tends to respond well to treatment and we know a lot about which strategies tend to be most effective for people with ADHD. So it can be a very optimistic diagnosis if you use that knowledge effectively and work hard at it.


What is your best tip for ADHD

Learn as much as you can about it, whether it’s you who has ADHD or your romantic partner, family member, etc. The more you know, the better off you will be. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when there is already so much that is already known. You obviously need to customize any strategies for your own situation, but there are a lot of good ideas already out there.

I sometimes hear that the romantic partner or family members of the person with ADHD are hesitant to invest the time to educate themselves about ADHD, saying that they already do enough so they shouldn’t have to put in the extra work. While I appreciate that they already feel overloaded, there is great power in understanding ADHD and how your partner operates. While it may not be their responsibility to ensure that the person with ADHD does what they need to, it is their responsibility to ensure their own happiness. If learning about ADHD helps you get your own needs met more effectively, then why wouldn’t you do it? Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own happiness.


What is your morning like

We wake up at 6:15, my son gets on the bus at 7:20 and my wife and I head out by 7:45. It sounds like a lot of time when I say it, but it goes pretty quickly, especially if we get behind schedule. At this point in the school year, I have a good sense of what needs to be accomplished by when in order for us to get out on time. I make breakfast and know that we have to start eating by 7:00, so that helps keep us on schedule. It’s easier to break the morning in half—before and after 7:00.


Anything else you want to share

There is a lot of good information out there about ADHD. I’m a big fan of getting good ideas wherever I can. So keep educating yourself. The best part is that the strategies that work best for people with ADHD tend to just be plain old good strategies that work well for most people.


For more information about Ari:

Podcast: More Attention, Less Deficit—listed in iTunes

Back to School and Back to Routines for Everyone


Back to school and back to routines for everyone

Classes have already started in many places and around Houston.  Football season is around the corner.  Knowing its time to get back to routines is part of the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall.  Our routines may have faltered during the hot Summer, but these tried and true routines make a difference in easing our stress.   Back to school means back to routines for moms, dads and everyone!

Your Bedtime

It’s easy to get to bed later and later during the Summer.  It stays light late and it is hard to wind down. Get started getting ready for bed earlier so you can get a great night’s rest. Most of us truly need 8 hours of sleep a night to do our best.


Your Lists

There seems to be much more on our plate during this time of year. Make it easy with making lists. It takes a lot to keep remembering all that we need to do.  Your list can be digital or paper.  Write stuff down and then prioritize for the day.


Organize and take stock

Stuff may get a little chaotic during the Summer.  All of a sudden your closet, your supplies and your pantry are disorganized.  Take a little time during August to get them back to their regular order.  If you have clothes you have not worn all Summer, it’s time to donate them.  Gather your office supplies together.  Do you have  a good routine for putting back your supplies? Simplify your access to items if you have trouble. Straighten items and review what is in your pantry. Create a checklist on paper or with an app to make shopping easier. Just giving each of these areas a little attention will make each day easier.


Your Planner

Summer fun is often spontaneous, but Fall has lots and lots of activities coming up.  Get back to the routine of entering dates in your planner as soon as you know them.  Enter all dates from the school calendar, sports calendars, church calendars and any other activities onto your planner so these are all consolidated.  Having all the dates in one spot makes it easy to see and know what is coming up.


Check out my Back to School board on pinterest for other Back to School ideas.

Back To School Organize your Homework Station

Back to School Homework Station


Back to school means time for homework time! It’s the least favorite time of day for moms, dads, and kids.  Having a great spot organized for homework makes it easier to get this job done. Easy to access supplies helps your child stay focused and on task.   Will one of these stations will help you and your child be more efficient and effective?

  • Remember when you were in school and did your homework in your room? How much did you accomplish? Have an honest discussion with your child about doing homework in this space and assess if this works well.  Stock a small sterilite 3 drawer desk top container with supplies like tape, scissors, and mini stapler in one drawer, pens and highlighters in one drawer, and pencils and colored pencils in a drawer.  
  • Dining rooms are a great place for homework.  It is just one step away when you are making dinner if you need to answer a question. Your child can hear the sounds around the house but still work in a quiet environment.  Stock a small utensil caddy with supplies. The caddy can be moved during dinner time.
  • Multiple kids doing homework at the same time? Place a long table against an available wall, place cork boards on the wall facing each child’s place, and place a shoebox with supplies for each child with each chair.
  • Have a starting time for homework.  A little time off and a protein based snack are a good break before getting started.  The earlier your child starts, the easier it is to get homework done.
  • Timers help kids get started on their homework.  Help your child get started or get finished using a clock faced timer.  Set the timer for 15 – 20 minutes.  If your child is working when the timer rings, then just keep going with homework. If not, have your child take a 5 minute break, walk around, get a drink, and then reset the timer and work again.
  • After homework is complete, be sure you see your child return the homework to a homework folder and pack the backpack.  This prevents losing completed homework!


homework and organizing

Back to School Checklists

back to school checklists


I love checklists! Back to school can be stressful and often we forget some of the most important, simple items.  Here are a few sample checklist to cover your back to school needs.

Real simple back to school checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist

mom agenda back to school check list

Mom Agenda Back to School Checklist

MomAgenda Back to School Checklist

Container Store College products

Container Store Back to College Checklist

Container Store College Checklist back to school checklist Back to School Checklist Back to School Checklist


Organizing Your ADHD Family

organizing your add or adhd family


Organizing your ADHD family takes time and energy.  When it is not natural, organizing is not the first thing anyone wants to do! Those in your family with ADHD find organizing painful, tedious and unending.  However, there are some basic strategies to help you and your family get organized and stay organized.


Building your Team

Families that work together and play together do better together on communication and cohesiveness.  Get started with a family meeting.  The family meeting is the time to model organizing skills with a month at a glance calendar.  Each member brings their own calendar too to update with dates and activities.  Write everything down on the calendar so everyone can see what is going on.  Be sure you can hang your calendar in the kitchen, even if you print out your digital calendar later.  Discuss your family mission at your family meeting. What do you stand for as a team? This creates a foundation for all you do as a family. End your meeting within 20 minutes with family fun.  Simple physical activities like bike riding, going to a park or making an ice cream sundae.  For an ADHD family, this meeting is where everyone pulls together.

Family Routines

Co-ordinate your ADHD family’s daily schedule by starting with routines. These are activities in sequence that help keep order throughout the day.  It includes getting up, getting ready,  picking up and getting to bed. A checklist is a great way to share these routines.  The checklist reminds everyone of their personal responsibilities and avoids nagging and negativity. Be specific with your routines to help your family understand expectations.  Being specific can mean setting a day for a responsibility or setting a time to have it complete.   Be sure to include specific times to get kids’ backpacks ready and pick up each evening to avoid being overwhelmed. For an ADHD family, including some white space with down time helps people feel more in balance.

Home Clutter

Clutter can be overwhelming in an ADHD family.  Start small and work together. Starting small may mean a small area or a small amount of time such as working on a drawer in a desk or setting a timer for 30 minutes.  Breaking decluttering into baby steps adds to your success.   Working with a partner means that someone is lending energy to the decision maker and withholding judgment on decisions.  That can be difficult for a parent or a child, but most important for eliminating items.   Add incentives for what matters most to your family.  Incentives can include money, time on a video game, or time to read.  For an ADHD family, be sure everything has a specific, labeled spot  and set a time daily to return it to that spot.

Tools and Tips

Organizing products can make a difference for your ADHD family. Clear bins labeled with cute, uniform labels are great organizing products.  Uniform containers in shoe box, sweater box, and 66 quart sizes can be used throughout your home to corral stuff.  Consistent colored containers add fun too! Label all areas of your home, including inside drawers for clothes, in your pantry for food, and in your media area with boxes for videos, games and music.

Plan your work and work your plan with your ADHD family.  Making organizing a consistent priority with time spent daily will yield great organizing results.


What helps your ADHD family get organized?

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