Four Rules to Promote Clutter Control
Posted by: Teacher ia | on December 31, 2012
In Special Education Philippines’ previous post we talked about Organization Tips for your child with ADHD. However, we focused on the things we should not do as parents for our child with ADHD if we want them to learn how to control their own clutter. Today, we will feature four of the rules Dr. Patricia Quinn mentioned in her article for ADDitude on how to end household clutter and help our ADHD child organize.
Four Simple Rules for Cleaning Up
1. Hang it Up
This rule reminds me of a scene in the new Karate kid where Sherry Parker (portrayed by actress Taraji Henson) tells her son Dre Parker (played by child actor Jayden Smith) to pick up his jacket lying on the floor. If you will isolate that scene, you’d probably judge her as a strict and scary mother. Yet for me it was one of the funniest moments at the same time. I’m sure you’ve had moments like that too with your child. What people thinks as scary crazy moments of yours is just the tip of the iceberg. They didn’t hear the countless times you’ve reminded your child to pick up his jacket. They didn’t see the gazillion of things you picked up for this child while trying to find his uniform only to know that he lost it somewhere in school. They don’t feel the pains and worries of a mother who is uncertain if his or her child will survive in this very competitive world if he can’t even keep his own uniform which he was already wearing.
Oh well, to avoid that kind of stress Dr. Quinn suggests we use hooks. The use of hooks and hangers removes the need to fold things neatly because folding is another task for children with ADHD to learn and to do it neatly is another consideration. So for you to be able to locate that jacket or uniform again right away, you can place hooks behind the door or in the closet. Multiple hooks can be used so when your child enters his room or leaves the room whatever he needs is readily accessible and available to him.
What we are establishing is the the use of hooks as a habit which means an action done without any reminders (yes its possible). However, it does not happen overnight. It happens over time and your child will only develop this habit if he has countless of times practicing it. Just like Dre learned the value of putting his jacket on and off properly. That is also the reason why we listed the “Dont’s in teaching organization tips” first so that you are aware of the pitfalls in implementing these strategies.
2. Throw it Away
There should be a wastebasket in every room that is big enough to shoot trash on in case your child felt inclined to treat it as a basketball hoop. It also must be sturdy enough to prevent any leaks in case he throws his vegetable soup there to escape your “detox day”. Will your child with ADHD learn how to segregate trash? Eventually, yes but first he must learn how to throw them in it. One step at a time.
3. Pick it Up
We have a saying here in the Philippines when you leave your dirty clothes on the floor. The old folks would say “Para kang sawa na kung saan-saan naiiwan ang balat mo.” In English, that means, “You’re like a python who leaves its skin anywhere.” It is not commonly uttered by parents nowadays but I still remember my lolas telling us that. For this strategy you will need a laundry basket. Just like there is a wastebasket for trash there should be a dedicated laundry basket for used clothes. You can also color code it to help your child identify which ones are new and which ones are used. The key in teaching this strategy is that the laundry basket should be readily accessible and available to the child when he chooses to change clothes. Thus you can opt to place the laundry basket inside the closet if its possible. That also eliminates the clutter in the room (it just stays in the closet ).
4. Put it Away
In our home we actually practice this strategy. Everything that is not needed should be put away in their proper place so that the next time you need your things you know where to find them. Dr. Quinn gave the example of using hinge cap toothpaste tubes instead of screw caps to avoid losing the cap. She also suggested the use of brightly colored drinking glasses which can serve as toothbrush holder as well. This is to avoid losing the toothbrush and the toothpaste all together. If possible, have a stationary place to hold this glass as well to ensure that everything will stay where they are suppose to stay. It is quite possible to lose the toothpaste, toothbrush, toothbrush holder all at the same time if they are loose items. Again, I am talking from experience.
These four rules to help promote clutter control in your household will only work if it is followed consistently not just by your child with ADHD but everyone in the household. Isn’t it better to lead by example than just to lecture these rules to your child?
Do you have organization tips you practice at home you would like to add here? Tell us below in the comments section.
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