Organizing Your ADHD Family
Your family may have one or more family members who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Diagnosis continues to grow each year. There’s clutter, time and stuff lost, and frustration. Organizing is not the first thing anyone wants to do and those in your family with ADHD find organizing painful, tedious and unending. Help is here! 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.
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.
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.
All too often the most difficult clutter is paper clutter. Start by going digital with online bill pay and as many papers as you can. Add a command center to consolidate papers and triage these daily to eliminate as much as possible. At your command center, create a station with products for processing the mail and other papers that come to your home. Use an expandable accordion file to keep papers longer term.
Tools and Tips
Organizing planners and 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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