If your child has ADHD, you may be very familiar with them losing homework somewhere between school and home, forgetting to bring books home for study, late or unfinished homework, creating an overflowing locker ( As well as desks and books), the trendy bag) is filled with piles of papers, books, half-eaten lunch, and even teacher’s notes, which have never been delivered to you. Somehow, even if a box of pencils was provided, the pencils were not found when needed.
Children with ADHD are sometimes labeled as irresponsible, careless or lazy. This criticism is not only inaccurate, unhelpful, and harmful.
Chronic disorders may debilitate people with ADHD. Confusion and forgetfulness are actually included in the criteria for diagnosing ADHD. Injuries in these areas are usually related to deficits in executive function, which makes planning, remembering, prioritizing, starting, self-monitoring, and completing tasks more difficult.
Children with ADHD usually need a lot of structure and support to help organize, but with your help, they can develop good organizational habits as soon as possible. The first and most important step in helping your child build an organization in school is to work closely with your child’s teacher. Good communication between home and school is essential.
Organizational Strategies of School-age Children with ADHD
Here are some tips to help students with ADHD develop good organizational habits:
- Set up a specially designated and undisturbed study area at home with your child. This work area should be kept in order. Help your child do this by guiding them through the necessary steps to keep the area tidy and remove unnecessary items. Know that you need to supervise your child and help them with this process on a regular basis. Make this part of your daily life.
- Provide useful supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, rulers, paper clips, pencil sharpeners, dictionaries, calculators, etc. Put labels on the desks or drawers on the desks in the study area, and help your child put supplies in the designated drawers.
- Work with your child’s teacher to build a system to keep homework in a notebook. The file will go from school to home with your child. This assignment notebook/folder should include a calendar or schedule that can be used to track long-term project due dates and test dates. Check this calendar regularly with your child. Use the calendar to help your child break down longer projects into smaller parts. Remember, you may need to be creative with your children to help them find an effective system.
- Ask the teacher to provide support and gently remind your child when they need to write homework in the notebook. This step ensures that they understand the assignment and checks that the assignment is properly recorded in the notebook. At the end of school day, it is also helpful for the teacher to check if there are suitable books, essays and homework notebooks in your child’s school bag.
- If your child has trouble handwriting, please ask the teacher to give your child a printed daily homework handout, which can be included in the homework notebook. It would be even better if the teacher could provide handouts with three holes pre-made and put the handouts directly into the homework notebook.
- At the end of the homework time before the next school day, check the homework papers and books that need to be put back into the school bag. When your child zips these items into the school bag and places them in a designated location near the door of the house, please supervise them. This way the school bag is easy to find in the morning.
- Ask the teacher to arrange a time for your child to organize and clean their desks and lockers at school. Be sure to arrange time for your child to regularly clean up school backpacks and notebooks at home. Understand that your child needs supervision and help with these chores. Instructing your child through these steps and practicing these skills time and time again is necessary to develop good habits.
- Designate a desk or locker area for specific items. You can even “draw” these areas with tape to indicate where items should be placed—for example, notebooks, books, folders, writing utensils, etc. This makes it easier to put the items back in the correct position so that they can be found when they are needed.
- Purchase a set of color-coded book covers, notebooks and folders for each subject area. Your children can organize their work by color. For example, they can choose red for mathematics, yellow for language arts, green for science, etc. Share with the teacher so that they can also support your child in using the system. Teachers can even highlight the handouts of each topic by using the corresponding color somewhere on the page.
- Establish a motivational reward system to actively strengthen your children as they develop organizational skills more and more in their daily lives.