Blog: Organizing Tips for Children and Teens (ADHD or Not)

About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a registered psychologist and founding partner of the Heller Psychology Group LLC, a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland, near the Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents and their families. Dr Heller leads playful, individual and family psychotherapies for a variety of … Read More

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Dr Carey Heller

Dr Carey Heller; Licensed Psychologist in Bethesda, Maryland

With October being Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month, it seems like this is a good time to think about how to help kids and teens be better organized and more independent. While this is something that many people with ADHD struggle with, these strategies are likely to be helpful for most children and teens, whether or not they have ADHD.

  • Help children and teens use strategies they can trust rather than reminders to parents when possible. On a practical level, whether a child is using an Amazon Echo, tablet, smartphone, or computer notifications to receive reminders to start homework, brush their teeth, or do other things, these are all tools they need. ‘he can use alone while growing up. Likewise, the use of visual checklists and other non-technological tools can be helpful. The key is to involve your child or teen in the use of strategies and help them put items in place if necessary.
  • Help your child or teen develop tools that fit as naturally as possible into what they are already doing. For example, if your teenager remembers brushing her teeth, but has trouble using her acne cream, pair the two together (just don’t ask her to use the cream to brush her teeth). Concretely, keep the cream next to the toothbrush so that the visual cue encourages them to use it when brushing their teeth.
  • Reduce attention / activity changes to allow for better tracking. For example, if your child forgets to put milk away after putting it in their breakfast cereal, here’s a tip (which works for adults too). Once you have taken the milk out of the refrigerator, don’t let it come out of your hand until it is put back in its place (i.e. in your refrigerator). The same strategy could be used for a comb / hairbrush, stapler, hole punch, or countless other items that can easily go missing around the house.
  • Structural time. Have you had a weekend with very little to do, but finding it difficult for you (or your child or teenager) to accomplish a few small tasks that would hardly take your time? By creating a structured schedule (even with lots of planned time to relax) it can make it easier to keep track of getting things done.

Each person is different in what works for them. Therefore, I hope these strategies are a good place to start in helping your child or teen (and yourself) improve your organizational skills.

Copyright 2021 Carey A. Heller, Psy.D.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  1. Practical parenting strategies with Dr. Heller
  2. ADHD Expert Articles
  3. CHAD
  4. Related Articles on ADHD by Dr Heller
  5. Agitation to improve concentration

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

On Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr Carey Heller is the author of the Practical Parenting Strategies blog. He is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Heller specializes in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), executive function problems, learning disabilities, and concurrent problems such as anxiety. Along with treatment, he often mixes traditional psychotherapy with hands-on coaching to help individuals improve time management, organization, and related study skills where appropriate.

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