5 min read
Creating daily routines for kids with ADHD can be challenging. Each person has their own preferred way of getting ready in the morning or doing homework at night. However if the task seems too complicated or the kid is not sure where to begin then the work is simply avoided.
I have developed several daily life hacks for my kids with ADHD to reduce the frequency that I find wet towels on the floor, bags of food left open, or kids not getting ready for school fast enough. Let me share my favorite life hacks for kids with ADHD with you!
Wooden Clothespins for Closing Bags of Food
The other day I picked up a loaf of bread from the pantry. I was making sandwiches for my kid’s school lunches. I was glad I picked up the bag slowly because top of the bag was wide open! The bread almost spilled out of the bag onto the floor. There was no twist tie on the bag.
My kids abandon twist ties all over the kitchen. Once removed from their original bag the twist ties are left on countertops, pantry shelves, or just the floor. Stale bread and the thought of bugs being able to crawl into the bag are both gross. This was a teachable moment so I gathered the kids in the kitchen.
I told the kids that the bags just needed to be closed every single time. I grabbed my stockpile of basic wooden clothespins (the ones with the spring in the middle). We already use the clothespins to close bags of chips and snacks. Wooden are way cheaper than buying plastic bag clips and come in bigger packages too.
I showed my kids how to hold the bread bag at the top, spin the bottom, and then clip the clothespin on the twisted part of the bag to seal it. Easy and done. I could tell that the kids had an “aha!” moment and then I made them practice this technique. Instead of making them use twist ties I found an easier simpler solution for them.
Lock Laces for Sneakers
How many mornings have been derailed by your kid putting on and tying their shoes? Tying shoes was a difficult task for my kids to learn. Their fine motor skills were not strong and their fingers struggled to manipulate and tie the laces.
Shoe tying also takes a lot of planning and sequencing work. Planning and sequencing are executive functions in the brain that can be underdeveloped in kids with ADHD. They will eventually master the sequence of steps for tying shoes – it just make take longer than you would expect.
The most amazing solution to save time in the morning was putting lock laces in their sneakers! The kid’s fine motor skills get practice holding the shoes open to get their feet inside and then sliding the toggle to tighten the laces. But the process is so much faster than tying regular shoe laces!
This also solves the problem of regular laces coming untied at recess, my kid not retying them, and then walking all over the laces for the rest of the day (breaking off the plastic ends of the laces in the process).
My kids also worked on their shoe tying whenever they would outgrow their shoes and get a new pair. Before we would put lock laces in the new pair of shoes they would practice tying the laces.
So shoe tying is a skill that we did not abandon completely. We just chose to take practicing this skill out of the morning routine so we could get out of the door faster!
Ledger Sized Calendar Hanging in the Kitchen
Even with electronic calendars in Google accounts and on all of our mobile phones and tablets my kids still prefer a paper calendar. I knew I needed a calendar large enough to fit all of the family activities.
The family calendar also needed to be readable wherever I put it on display. A typical 12-month calendar with big photos and tiny squares for each day was not going to cut it.
Therefore I chose a larger calendar that you would have on your desk at work (if you still used paper calendars).
Using a large desk blotter style calendar allows me to write in all the appointments, sports practices, and activities in an organized way.
I prefer the desk calendars that have two holes in the binding on the top instead of spiral bound calendars. When I hang the calendar on the wall I need it to be stable and not swing, rotate, or flip when I am writing on it.
For maximum visibility in our kitchen the desk calendar hangs on the inside of the pantry door. This door is essentially always open and kids are always snacking. The high traffic area of the pantry allows the calendar to be seen many times a day. This lets the kids repeatedly see and memorize the activities.
S-Shaped Hooks for Hanging Bath Towels
I have lost count of the number of times I walked into my kids’ bathroom to find soggy towels on the floor. Why is it so hard to hang up a bath towel?
All of my bathrooms have horizontal towel bars, the kind that are common in lots of houses. These towel bars look so pretty in magazines and online photos with color-coordinated bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths. Well, my bathroom looks nothing like that.
My kids simply refuse to hang up their towels. I could yell about it but that would solve nothing. So I got creative and came up with an easier way for them to hang the bath towels. I put S hooks on the horizontal towel bars.
This might sound too simple or even unnecessary. But I will tell you that the S hooks work!
For unexplained reasons my kids could not or would not hang their towels on a towel bar. I let go of that ideal and moved onto something practical and sustainable – the S hooks.
Now the bath towels are hung on the S hooks about 80% of the time. This is not perfect but a drastic improvement from the the bath towels being left on the floor to grow mold and mildew.
Magazine Bins for Organizing School Papers
Now I will admit that I have a hard time throwing away anything. Every drawing and worksheet completed by my kids usually finds a place in my home. I feel guilty for throwing away school papers in the trash. And one of my kids is sentimental about papers like I am too.
Since the schools are gravitating towards using computers for the bulk of the schoolwork the amount of papers that come home are reduced but not zero. We needed somewhere to put all the papers until we could sort them together and decide what stays and what goes.
Before I had a system for organizing my kid’s school papers they would end up on the floor where the backpacks were hung, on the kitchen counter, on the bedroom floor, and jammed into the bottom of the backpack.
I designated one small space of the kitchen counter for kids school papers. Since I wanted to avoid piles of papers spreading out and one kid’s work getting mixed up with another kid’s work I knew I needed to keep the papers contained. So I browsed The Container Store in search of the right size and shape item for the job.
I settled on magazine bins – one bin for each kid. I wrote their names on the labels in marker and set the magazine bins on the kitchen counter. Now in a perfect world the excess school papers would be taken out of the backpacks every day after school by the kids and put into the magazine bins. This never happens!
What does happen is that the kids let their folders, binders, and backpacks overflow with the papers and THEN they remove the papers and put them in the bins. But once the school papers are in the bins they are contained and the backpacks are slightly less messy.
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