The 2 best strategies for ADHD organisational support

ADHD organisational support can put big demands on parents. But you can reduce the mental load through two life changing strategies: alarms and lists.

The mental load of executive functioning

Having a child with ADHD can put additional executive functioning demands on their parents. The adults around the ADHD child have to pick up the organisational slack to support the child.

This executive functioning can include:

  • co-regulation to manage emotions
  • verbal self-talk to challenge negative thought cycles or rejection sensitivity
  • goal setting and planning for small and large tasks such as homework
  • remembering daily chores such as taking ADHD medication
  • remembering and following routines and self-care chores each morning and evening without distraction

But as a parent, you don’t want to take on tons on mental load in being the external executive function for your child all the time. So how can you help reduce your load, while teaching skills to your child?

One. Alarms for reminders

Alarms on a watch or phone are almost essential.

Need a reminder to take ADHD medication at the same time each day? Set an alarm on the phone.

Need a reminder to go to the toilet throughout the day? Set a watch alarm throughout the day.

Want a reminder to tell you to bring an item with you, like remembering to put on your watch and collecting you phone before you leave home? Set an alarm on your phone and watch for 5 mins before you leave and you’ll hear them!

Need a reminder to go to practice or other event? Set an alarm to remind you.

See how easy an alarm makes life? You don’t have to remember things or get stressed out when you forget. Get the technology to do the heavy remembering work and you’ve outsources your executive functioning.

And just as a fun note – we haven’t forgotten a single medication with the use of phone alarms. That’s the power of ADHD organisational support!

Two. Lists for routines

Everyday brings with it stuff to do. If you wake up with a scattered mind, ready to start the day with a dozen distractions, try routine lists.

A morning routine list for a child might be placed next to where they sit at the table for breakfast, on their bedroom door, or on the front door before you walk out the door.

It might read:

  1. Eat breakfast (because when you’re super distracted, you can get hangry without realising this is an important step)
  2. Get dressed (easy to forget when you’re distracted, and it’s a self-care chore that’s not very motivating)
  3. Brush teeth
  4. Reward with a video/play time (because motivation can be low for self-care tasks, build in the reward)

An afternoon routine list for after school might read:

  1. Toilet (yes, you need to schedule this!)
  2. Afternoon tea (avoid the hangry by getting this done early)
  3. Homework and unfinished school work
  4. Music practice 10 mins
  5. Relaxing time (reward for finishing the required tasks)

These lists provide ADHD organisational support and external motivation at any time of the day. Check out the 10 visual schedules for different ways to display lists, tasks and routines.

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