Teach Organization and Scheduling

Reducing physical and mental clutter and other distractions can greatly benefit attention span and lessen distractibility. At home, this is getting toys and bedrooms organized. Make a plan with your child about how, when and where to store toys and other belongings. In our house, the toys all have a place they belong as do the backpacks, homework, art supplies and shoes. It is up to parents to provide initial set-up and expectations, and in the long run it’s a child’s job to follow through. Teaching the behvaior and then passing the responsibility may take a great amount of shared effort. At school this includes the teachers coaching the child to regularly clean out their desk, backpack and locker.

This also means getting scheduled. Most children with attention issues do far better when given a schedule. Plan with your child for a morning, afternoon and evening routine. The afternoons may vary based on extra-curricular activities, but have a plan that works before each day. It may help to build in 10 minutes of free time at the end of each routine. 10 minutes to play at the end of each morning or to read at the end of each evening. This provides a bit of a buffer and gives children something to work towards rather than against as discipline. It can also be helpful to make a visual of the schedule. This might be making a poster with pictures of the included activities or drawings of the clock for time spent at each. Have your child draw or copy the pictures or take pictures of your child moving through the activities. At school, this includes the child learning to use a calendar or homework notebook to manage assignments and studying.

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