Tag Archives: ADD

How Can I Get My ADHD Child to Clean His Room?

Q.  I was wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks for getting  my 7 year old son to clean his room or clean up after himself. I pretty much just clean his room myself because telling him to clean his room is a SURE FIRE trigger to a major melt down (on meds or not) and since he shares a room with his younger brother it is fair that he never has to clean up after himself. I have just always done it to avoid the meltdown which always leads to my own melt down!

A.  Children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) need lots of structure and strategies to accomplish tasks that may seem ‘easy’ or ‘common sense’ to others.  Many children with ADHD often ‘shut down’ when overwhelmed and often ‘act out’ when confronted with meeting parental expectations, like cleaning their room, as they have no idea how to start and finish.   By cleaning his room for him to avoid a meltdown you are actually reinforcing and rewarding your child for inappropriate behaviors.  Of course this is not your intention, but the cost of ‘keeping the peace’ backfires in the long run.   It is better to be prepared to endure the ‘meltdown burst’ to teach your child life-long skills to manage himself and the expectations of others towards becoming an independent adult. 

No worries, your child can learn how to clean his room with consistent practice.  First you need to define what ‘cleaning your room’ means to your child.  Break down what is to be done in order by creating a list on poster board and placing in his room.   Laminate the poster board so your child can use a wipe off marker after he completes each step.  Practice with your child by showing him how to do for each item on the list.  For example, if you want him to put his clothes in the laundry place two baskets in his room. He will put all the whites in the white basket and the darks in the dark basket.  If you would like him to pick up his shoes place a plastic shoe holder that is hung over his bedroom door to put them in.   Assess your child’s belongings and provide a ‘home’ for them his room.  One child I worked with loved baseball cards, he knew exactly where they were, strewn all over his bedroom floor!  I worked with his mother to devise a system of placing them in plastic card holders and organizing them in binders by leagues, teams, hall of famers, and positions. The child was proud of ability to manage his cards as was his mother.   Break down each task and practice with your child until he masters each one independently, and the next time you say ‘clean your room’ your child will know exactly what to do! 

To set up a system for chores read my article exclusive web article on at



ADHD CHADD Conference Highlights

Lunch with Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of Driven to DistractionLunch with Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of Driven to DistractionAs the coordinator of CHADD of SJ Chapter I attend the conference each year and return inspired from my experience and participation. This year I had the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Ned Hallowel, author of ‘Driven to Distraction.”  Dr. Hallowell is a international expert in the field of ADHD.   Dr. Hallowell graciously shared his in-depth knowledge and talked about how he is in the business of unwrapping the gifts of ADHD.  He noted ADHD is not a gift but people with ADHD have gifts just like others do without ADHD.

 Highlights of CHADD Conference


Creating Better Tomorrows moving forward to help those impacted by ADHD and surrounding issues. 

Opening Keynote:

Timothy Wilens, MD, Harvard Medical School discussed the challenges of youth with ADHD, ages 15 -26, and brain growth during these years based on a study of young adults.  The study indicated the frontal lobes of the brain showed large changes up to the age of 30, this is great news!  Parents, in time your children will develop  ‘executive functioning skills’ which are crucial to life success and independence.  As your child continues to develop and move through this phase there is an increase of risk taking behaviors and substance abuse.  However, with the proper medication, coaching, and treatment these behaviors can be decreased with ongoing support.

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Alarm Clocks for Kids with ADHD/ADD Children who Have Difficulty Waking Up

Alarm Clocks for Kids with ADHD/ADD Children who Have Difficulty Waking Up

Many children with ADHD/ADD have difficulty getting up in the morning.  Many parents are at their wit’s end trying to get their children up and to school on time.  This is due to the fact many with ADHD/ADD have hypersomnia caused by the difficulty with the brains ability to shifting from the sleep state to the awake state.  A few of my favorite helpful alarm clocks are as follows:

Puzzle Alarm Clock

This clocks wakes children up by firing four puzzle pieces in the air.  The child must put them back in the alarm clock to turn it off, requiring physical activity is the key to get kids up and moving.  You can purchase this at gizmodo.com

KuKu Alarm Clock

This clock crows and lays eggs.  It won’t stop chirping until you’ve returned the eggs .  To view this alarm and more go to uberreview.com

What are your Strategies for Getting Your Child Up in the Morning?



Linda Karanzalis, M.S., is an adult with ADD/ADHD, a learning specialist, the founder of ADDvantages Learning Center, and an ADD/ADHD coach who specializes in helping both children and adults with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities to reach their potential.You have permission to republish this article as long as it retains this information box and the link.




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