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I'm going to follow this thread...

I'm 30 and just recently diagnosed as ADD and have since learned SO much about ADD/ADHD so far. I wish I could have been identified at a younger age. (College could have been at least 35% cheaper and quicker... :jester: )

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out ways to successfully structure my home and work life with more discipline/routine. I have two boys--neither identified as ADHD, though one demonstrates some mild symptoms. My wife is a highly structured person (so you can imagine how fun it is being married to me), and she is very successful at keeping a chart on our fridge for the boys. It has daily things like "Brushed My Teeth, Washed My Face, Ate a Vegetable, Made My Bed, etc." Before leaving for school in the morning, they check over each of their charts and put a sticker on the box for each task. They are 5 and 7, so it turns into a game with them almost. If they go two weeks with acceptable charts, then they get a reward like a trip to the bowling alley or a movie or something.

Rather than having to ask your child seven different questions while getting ready (or even going about the day) you can simply ask "What's your chart look like?" and then he/she can monitor himself/herself as far as the specifics of what's supposed to be done. Has anyone tried something like this with their ADHD child? I'm thinking of having my wife make a chart for me... ;)

Right now, you may be motivated to get them more responsible and disciplined to ease the mental load on yourself, but it is important--if not vital--that they get steered this way for future success. Moms, from my experience in life, are much more understanding and tolerant than are teachers, bosses, and wives. ADHD folks seem to have school struggles, show a trend for switching jobs on a higher than average rate, and are more likely to experience divorce than the general population. Whatever you can do for your kids now to help them with routine and discipline/organization might avoid a lot of frustration and pain later in life...
Hope it's not too late, but I'd like to chime in with some things that work for us (son diagnosed ADD/ADHD combo type 8 years ago, just now went on meds (minimum Adderall dosage) as a teen).

1. WRITE THE ROUTINE DOWN. Our son has a folder of index cards (one card = 1 chore). Each step of his chores are written down, by him, in his own way. When he says "I'm done" then I can either respond by checking, choose to accept it at face value, ask him to check it against his card list, etc. Not having to remind all the time makes him feel less "nagged" and us feel more calm & patient.

2. SET UP ZONES & ROUTINES FOR EVERYTHING. Our son has a morning routine (bathroom, shower, hair, brush teeth, deoderant, dressed, meds, breakfast, etc.). The night before he sets up his morning routine zone -- puts out his clothes, stashes his glasses, gets his toothbrush ready, breakfast dishes & containers, etc. Everything goes in the same spot, each time. If he does this, he can be out to the kitchen in 20 minutes. If not, it's at least 35 minutes. He has zones for homework, music practice, etc. He even maintains his own launch pad with his backback, lunch stuff if he needs it, schedules, etc. If it's a repeatable activity, it has a zone & a routine attached in our household.

3. DIVVY UP THE WORK (BUY A LOT OF TIMERS). ADD/ADHD kids have enough organizational issues to battle to start with. Often assignments LOOK overwhelming, which causes them to choose distraction, which means the work takes 'forever', which reinforces the whole cycle for the next assignment. Teach the child to manage time -- set a reasonable goal (10 math problems in 15 minutes). Break up the work so it's not overwhelming. Have them set the timer and do the work. Praise performance & challenge them to do better or beat their own score. The more "into" the game they buy, the faster homework goes by.

4. ELIMINATE THE EXCUSES. Create a "homework survival kit" with everything your child needs - pens, pencil, ruler, stapler, graph paper, dictionary, etc. Those things that they "forget" gets duplicated in the kit for next time. Put the kit in one container (transportable) so they can take it wherever they need.

5. BRING OUT THE FUN GUNS. ADD/ADHD kids get bored, distracted, irritable, energetic. Make learning fun as much as possible. Z had the worse time with sitting still enough to memorize the multiplication table. We wrote problems out in dry erase marker on every window in the house. It was fun, different, something out of the ordinary and it helped him to combat the 'brain drain' that took place when he sat at a table to learn it.

6. COMMUNICATE YOUR PRIORITIES AND EXPECTATIONS. Big grins all around when Mom says "This is a minimal compliance job." Kids (ADD/ADHD or not) need to know what you expect of them...expecting every job to be done 100% right, every time, is overwhelming. If you let kids KNOW when it's a "just get it done, it doesn't have to be perfect" type of situation, they'll rebel less on the rest of the work (in my experience). If something is a priority, state it as such and verbally connect it to something they can relate to.

I could go on & on...but these are some of the things that work (day in, day out) for us. Z'sMom





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