Practicing Organizational Skills during Summer Break: A Parent’s Quick Guide for SUCCESS
By: Sheila Woods MD FAAP
June 17, 2012
If you want to interest your school age child in practicing organizational skills, think “fun” for the activity and involve the whole family if possible. Time management is important in your child’s coping with ADHD and practicing skills are a way to build and reinforce good habits. You would be more likely to sign your child up for the swim team if he or she practices the different swimming strokes-right? So the same principle applies to practicing organizational skills.
Practice, practice, practice.
Often children with ADHD have difficulty in managing everyday tasks including homework. If homework is a time of terror in your home, start during summer with building skills around this issue. If you practice this summer, you will have a good habit in place for school in the fall.
1. Pick a place in the home best suited for homework completion. This can be a flat surface cleared of clutter and located in a relatively quiet place-turn off the TV, computer, video games, music and any other distractors. Name this place something like “John’s launch pad” or “Suzie’s design studio”.
2. Have your child help you decide what he/she usually needs for homework. For example, pencils, erasers, crayons/markers, ruler, dictionary. Place these in a clear plastic container or bag and label them “John’s launch tools” or “Suzie’s sketch tools”. Use fun labels that go along with the name of the homework place!
3. Next, develop a color-coded binder like “NASA Control” or the “Design Portfolio” with plastic pockets that will travel back and forth to school. For summertime, it will travel from your desk to your child’s desk-remember you are the best teacher your child will ever have! One color tab and pocket is for assignments to be done like “John’s launch sequence”, another color tab and pocket is for completed assignments like “Suzie’s finished designs” , and a third color tab and pocket is for notes. Notes are any messages from the teacher to you, from you to the teacher, or from you to your child. Notes can be “satellite transmissions” or “suggestions from design boss”
4. Print a ONE WEEK calendar. A month is way too much information for most ADHD students. Put the calendar in the binder or on the front of the binder. Have your student practice putting their schedule on the calendar first and include their daily routine and then as he/she is more proficient, have them enter the schedule for the family as well. Sometimes it helps to post the everyday routines on their closet door or bathroom mirror.
We will share some calendar tips next week with a sample calendar for you to adopt in your house. What tips and tactics can you share with other families to stay organized? What works in your house?