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ADHD in Children Health Center

Time Management for Teens and Tweens With ADHD

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For teens and tweens with ADHD, simple tasks like cleaning their room or doing homework can seem to take forever, and often end in arguments and frustration.

By teaching your kids a few simple time management skills, you can make these daily responsibilities much more manageable. And you can reduce stress for the whole family.

Set Routines

Clear routines give the day structure, which is helpful for kids with ADHD.

Schedule activities for the same times each day. That way you won't have to constantly remind your child to get ready for school or do his homework.

Write down all of your teen's daily responsibilities on a calendar. For example, mornings might look something like this:

Morning routine:

  • 7:00 a.m. Get ready for school.
  • 7:30 a.m. Eat breakfast.
  • 7:50 a.m. Put your homework in your backpack.
  • 8:00 a.m. Go outside to wait for the bus.

Eliminate Dawdling

Putting things off is common in kids with ADHD. Have you ever asked your tween or teen to do homework, only to find your child still sharpening pencils a half-hour later? Do you need to call your tween down to breakfast over and over again each morning?

To deal with dawdling, set firm start and end times for activities. For example, if your child has trouble getting down to breakfast on time:

  • Tell your child: "The kitchen is open at 7:30 a.m. At 7:50 a.m., it closes."
  • Set an alarm to go off at 7:30 a.m. when breakfast starts.
  • Establish a rule that if your child isn't in the kitchen by 7:50, he or she doesn't get breakfast.

Go through daily activities together to teach your child exactly how long activities such as cleaning the bedroom or doing homework should take. Set a timer for each task. Give your child the goal of finishing the activity before the timer dings.

Organize Work Spaces

Clear the clutter off your teen's workspace so there's room to organize homework and space to study. It's hard for kids to get anything done when their desk is covered in a messy pile of papers.

Have organizers and storage bins handy to keep papers, pencils, and other desk accessories in their proper places. Initially, show them how to organize things. Then expect them to keep it up.

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