Guiding the ADHD Child to Clean His Room: Schedules and Strategies to Help Attention Deficit Organization

Organization is a struggle for kids and teens with ADHD. Keeping track of a single homework worksheet can be overwhelming. A Math worksheet, for example, could end up in the English folder. It could easily be unfinished because the child does not remember he has the work or because he remembers working on it, so he assumes the page is complete. Cleaning his own bedroom encompasses so much more than keeping track of a single worksheet. Parents can create an organized plan to help the child keep his bedroom neat and clean.

Plan Daily Routines

There are many steps in keeping a bedroom clean. Some chores in keeping a bedroom clean and orderly must happen every day. Make a list of the things that should be done daily. Having a checklist helps the child with attention difficulties get the job done. The checklist might actually be three short lists: Before School, After School, and Before Bed. Things on these lists might include making the bed, picking up toys, and going through school papers and assignments with a parent.

Schedule Weekly Jobs

A weekly schedule of chores to keep the bedroom clean is also helpful for the ADHD child who cannot stay on task. If the daily schedule is followed, the Saturday list can focus on other things that do not need to be done every day. These tasks might include emptying the wastebasket, taking clothes to the laundry room, stripping sheets from the bed, and dusting. Many children with special needs do better with a routine. Having a schedule for room cleaning can make the task much easier.

Work Together on Seasonal Tasks

Parents and kids can work together on the big things that only need to be done a few times a year. For example, toys should be sorted. Any broken toys should be thrown away. Any toys that are still good, but not used, could be sold at a garage sale or given away.

Clothes also need to be sorted. Trying on clothes to see if they are too small may be especially difficulty if the child has sensory defensiveness. The simple act of trying on the clothes as well as those pesky tags can be very irritating to some kids with special needs. Breaking the seasonal clothes sorting into shorter sessions can be helpful.

Some children seem to be born with organizational skills. The child with ADHD is wired differently. Although he has focus, his focus is for a short period of time. He is quickly and easily distracted from the task. Having a regular schedule for bedroom cleaning and maintenance can help the ADHD child stay organized.