How to Get Your ADD Child to Clean Up His Room

Helpful tips on how to get a child with ADD to actually clean his room.

It is Sunday morning. Your child has already eaten breakfast and is as usual playing video games on the computer. His room is a mess and even though you have been asking him to clean it up since Saturday, nothing has been done. You already know that screaming and punishing him doesn’t really work. At the best case scenario, your child will take all the mess and shove it under the bed, and you will have to sort it out and clean it in the end. The following are some tips which may help in encouraging your child to clean up his room.

Children or adults with ADD need excitement. (Why do you think he plays video games all the time? Because its exciting and stimulating.). If you want your child to clean up the room, you need to make it exciting for him to do it. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Put on his/her favorite music in his room. This way his room will suddenly become an exciting place to be. Make sure its got a beat that makes one want to move. Put the music loud. Children with ADD like loud music and noise.
  2. Cheer him on. Children and adults with ADD need constant encouragement when asked to do something that is very hard for them, like organizing a room. A child with ADD by default is not good at organizing and here you are asking him to organize his room which has not been clean for a week. Check up on his progress often and make sure to point out the things that he has put away and how proud you are of him.
  3. Your child will need your help. Yes children with or without ADD need to be shown where to put what. Having boxes or crates with labels for specific things helps a lot. A child with ADD needs to be shown a few times. For example take a shoe box and label it “Baseball Cards”. Put all the baseball cards into this box. From now on the child will know on his/her own where the baseball cards need to go. Make sure your child has a laundry hamper in his room. It will be easier for your child to put dirty cloth in a hamper that is right there, instead of carrying the cloth downstairs or somewhere else.
  4. Offer a reward. I know you have tried it a million times, but this time do it a bit differently. Tell the child that you have something very special for him/her, but do NOT say what it is. Make it a surprise that you will only reveal AFTER the room is clean. Keep reminding the child about the surprise every few minutes and make it sound very good.
  5. Children with ADD usually can not complete a task. The child will likely want to give up very quickly. When you see that about to happen. Give him a little reward like a piece of gum or candy. Tell your child again how proud you are of him/her for what they have done so far. Be specific. Say something like “I like how you cleaned the bookshelf and put all the books in order.” Your child will likely not want to finish. Remind him/her of the surprise and see if you can show him/her how little there is left to do. It helps to break it down to little jobs. Make sure to keep the music going and cheer him on.

Organizing once room is hard for most children. For children with ADD it’s a mental challenge. Of course it is very important not to scream, threaten or punish the child in any way. It is really not his fault. The child with ADD can not control the fact that he/she is not organized. If you keep that in mind it will be much easier to deal with the whole situation.

I hope you have found this information helpful. For more information about children with ADD please click here.

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Published in: Family


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