Does Your Child with ADHD Need Help with Homework?

Are you looking for ways to help your child or teen handle the daily struggle with homework? The struggle (theirs and yours) is real. It may look like a lack of motivation, or defiance, forgetfulness or even a learning disability but in reality, it is probably their Executive Function skills.

The Homework Help for ADHD covers seven Executive Function skills that have the biggest impact on homework and includes information on what to look for and plenty of strategies to help compensate.

Laine Dougherty - Notebook - Homework Help for ADHD - blue #1

Due to the current circumstances and requirements for social distancing, our classes and individual services will be conducted via Zoom, Google Meet or Phone.

Coffee and Routines

Routines keep us goingRoutines, we all have them. Some are helpful and some are not. Routines that are based on good habits are sets of things we do every day that have a positive effect. You probably have a morning routine that gets you and your family out the door in the morning, and an evening routine that ends the day. Do they serve you? By that I mean do they make things run smoothly, keeping you relaxed or do they add chaos, disorganization or a sense of hurriedness to your life?

I think the holiday season is one time where the impact of disrupting the routines of the day can show its effect. Behaviors erupt, patience is thin, and chaos reigns. If there is any ADHD in the family, then those routines/habits are even more important. For those with ADHD, a routine may not always be the same from day to day. In fact, for most people/children with ADHD every day is a new day and often a new “routine”. However, it definitely helps if those with ADHD can create a routine of good habits so that they are on automatic pilot rather than having to take the time to figure out what they should do next. It is the thinking “now what do I have to do?” that causes the mind to go blank or to act on whatever is in front of them.

According to pediatricians at www.healthychildren.org, ““Every family needs routines. They help to organize life and keep it from becoming too chaotic. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.” We’ve all seen this. A sudden change of plans can send our day into a tailspin or worse, change our normally happy youngster’s personality into something we don’t recognize (tantrums optional). Routines for kids provide a sense of predictability and that makes them feel safe. It does the same for adults although I would change the feeling of safety to a sense of control.

Routines teach responsibility, organization, and cooperation and positively reduce your stress level, save you time and energy and bring a sense of control to your daily life. It is that simple. Routines are beneficial in the morning, after school or when returning home for the day, dinner time, and bedtime. It’s not just about the “basics” of a routine as there is often room to add something to your routine that you feel has been missing. For example: it is not just about remembering to brush your teeth at night, but also about ending your day on a positive note. Are you watching TV until bed and then tossing and turning or do you read something positive after having set yourself up for a stress free morning?(Clothes out, lunches packed or planned, keys on hook, phone charging, etc.)

Take a look at your routines and those of your family and see if they are beneficial or not. If things are not working, figure out why and try something new. Keep at it until it works. If things are working well, then you might want to consider adding something to an already established routine. Research shows that linking a new behavior to something that is already “routine” makes it easier for it to become a habit. I have added writing in a journal to my morning routine that also includes listing three things I am grateful for. It starts my day with gratitude and a positive attitude. What will you add to your routine?

Family Room Fixes to Encourage Communication

family-room-lIf the kitchen is the heart of the home then the family room/living room is the soul. It is the room that brings the family together. It is a place to relax, unwind, entertain and be entertained. Communication happens here and relationships are built and/or strengthened here. Is your family room conducive to communication or is it cluttered with energy draining reminders?

First, take a look around. Often things are piled because they do not have a “home.”  Remove those things that do not belong in the room or create a space for them. Do you have enough storage for your CD’s, DVD’s and Video Games? Shelves, baskets or closed cabinets work well for these. Sort all media into piles and then count or measure how much you have before purchasing new containers. Be sure that you leave space to grow. Recycle newspapers, catalogs and all but the current month of your magazines unless there are important articles you want to read. Tear them out and put them in a plastic file folder (the kind with the string closure) and keep them in your car for those unexpected waiting times. Consider cutting down on those magazines that you never seem to get to read.

Take a look at the furniture placement. Is it encouraging communication or is the seating spread out to the edges of the room? It is often difficult to have conversations especially while the TV is on if people are seated too far away. Ever notice how loud commercials are? Well, take advantage of those three minutes to communicate by pausing (if you have a DVR) or muting the commercials. Discuss the show or take time to connect with your family. Better yet, plan some family fun for one or two nights a week and keep the TV off.

Keeping the family room neat and functional makes it the room everyone wants to be in. Take the time to give it a summer pick me up and then have the family take 10 minutes before bed to put everything back in its place. Then enjoy the added time to connect with your loved ones.

If you’re not sure where to start, or your room needs some extra organization help, then give me a call (781.659.0513) and in two or three hours you’ll be amazed at the difference.

Get in the ZONE

houseLook around your home; are you happy with the condition it is in? Can you find what you need quickly and easily? Or do you suffer from C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Well, stop living in fear of the doorbell (or cancelling play dates) and take back your weekend at the same time.

Often times we feel the “need” to clean the house weekly and many people spend their Saturdays doing just that. The problem with that is, if you have a special event to go to or your child is on a team your Saturday is not your own.  I know you have limited time and that there are lots of things competing for your time and attention – especially your children. Our home is our oasis from the outside world and should be comfortable and relatively stress free – it does not need to be dust free. De-cluttering and organizing are often very helpful and if the family gets involved, they’ll learn habits that will benefit them their whole life. So, here’s a plan that takes 15-20 minutes a day that the whole family can help with.

First: divide your home into 5 or 6 zones. A zone can be one room or a combination of rooms but don’t make it too big. You want to be able to do a bit of de-clutter, organizing and/or cleaning in the 20 minute block. For example, zone 1 for me includes the breezeway (because most people enter there), entry way and ½ bath (which is right near that back door). Zone 2 includes the kitchen, dining room (which does not get used very often) and the foyer. The idea is to create small enough areas that you can work on for 15-20 minutes each night and feel like you are making progress. At the same time you can have the rest of the family doing the DPU (15 minute daily pick up) and picking up and putting away in other rooms or get them to help with the current zone.  At first, you may only have time for de-cluttering, later on though as you keep at it each week, you’ll not only get to clean the areas but you’ll have time to deep clean or go one step further – whatever that is for you.

Next, figure out what time of day would work best for you and the family to take those 20 minutes. Will it be before dinner, before getting the kids ready for bed, after the kids are in bed or different each day? It’s okay if it is different every day but I feel it is important to “plan” it into your day somehow. So schedule it for the first week and then each day work on one zone. Monday is my zone one, so it is the breezeway, back door entry and ½ bath that get my attention. The biggest thing here in the winter is the sand and grit that gets carried in. So, with a shake of the rugs and a quick vacuum (using a cordless stick vacuum because my central vacuum has a 20 foot hose that is just not convenient for me), I change the towels in the bathroom and clean the fixtures and I’m done. One week I also had time to clean out the medicine cabinet and another week I cleaned out the drawers in the vanity. Even if your cleaning service comes each week, you can still de-clutter and organize and save the cleaning for them.

Lastly, only you can decide what things are important in your home. You may want to focus one day on just mail, or paying the bills, or collecting the recycling for trash day. Whatever works for you is what is important and you’ll need to consider why it is important to you. Life is full of so many “shoulds” that we often don’t stop to consider the “whys”.  Why take the time to do this? Only you can answer that.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of 2013

070621-partyhatAs we say goodbye to another year (I know I can’t believe it either) and welcome 2014, it is time to think about the past for just a few minutes. If you’re like me you might be wondering where 2013 went. I seem to be missing a few weeks somewhere, how about you?

Well, take a few moments and look through the year’s planner pages or calendar (whatever you are using) to recall how you chose to spend it. I call this my “good, bad and ugly” memory trip through the year. Make three columns (or lists)on a sheet of paper and as you go through the months write down the things you want to remember under each of those categories.

Good

  • Husband loves new job
  • Son got married

Bad

  • Vacation postponed
  • Gained 7 pounds

Ugly

  • Broke promises to myself
  • Three unfinished projects calling – no screaming at me

You get the idea. Take a few minutes now and make your list. Now you can focus on reducing the “bad” and the “ugly” and increasing the “good” in 2014. What will that take? Let me know in the comments below please.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!

 

 

What's In Your Closet?

I wonder who invented or designed the first closet. Maybe Mrs. Caveman got tired of tripping over Mr. Caveman’s club again and hid it behind a rock. Whatever the reason, closets can be either a black hole or a great tool for organizing. This month in celebration of Clean Out Your Closet Week, we are tackling the coat closet.

Pick the closet you use most often, it is usually closest to the door you use daily. First step of organizing is always sort.  You can start with sorting the outerwear by season and/or owner. If possible take it out of the closet and sort it so you can actually see how much each person has. As the winter winds down you can see which coats and accessories still fit your child and which will not make it through another season. Decide which coats are regularly worn and which do not fit or are in poor condition. Donate those that you can and store the out of season ones. Do the same for the accessories such as, scarves, hats, gloves and shoes. Take everything else out of the closet and decide if it needs to be stored elsewhere or if it will remain in that closet. (If you do not have a closet near the door that you use most often, try to find a space to put up hooks for jackets and baskets for the other extras for each member of the family.)

Next, look at ways to utilize vertical space. Can you add another shelf? Often the top shelf leaves a lot of unused space up to the ceiling. Add another shelf there and although it will be harder to reach, it makes good use of that space near the ceiling for plastic (labeled) bins for seasonal or seldom used items. A basic shoe rack can double as a removable shelf and shelf dividers can keep things separated. Can you add another rod? Adding a rod off of the existing rod creates a lower rod for children to use at their height. Just remember to leave some space for full length items (if you have any). Sometimes closet space is actually hidden behind the wall of the closet and is difficult to use. If it is 10 inches or deeper, you might want to add some shelves or hooks for easy hang up.

If you like things to be “put away” then you may want to use part of this closet area as a “landing pad.” Use separate baskets, bins or shelves for each family member to store their accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) and backpacks. For young children make sure there are hooks or a rod low enough for them to hang up their own coat and a bin low enough for their mittens, ski pants, backpacks and hats. The fewer steps it takes children to put their things away, the more likely it is that they will do it. Walk them through what you want them to do as they come in the door and for younger children, also add a picture list of the steps to help them create the habit.

Now put everything back into the closet grouped in a way that works for your family whether it be by owner, type of jacket or color – the choice is yours. Make it functional and no one will ask – What’s in your closet?

Got questions? Leave them in the comments box….I’d love to hear from you.

The Best Laid Plans

tuesdayEver set your day up perfectly, only to have a phone call or something simple send it spinning out of control? Me too! When I first started getting organized (yes, it’s true I wasn’t born this way), I set up a basic week schedule. It was a simple chart that had the days of the week on it and what “kind of” a day it was. For example, I had Wednesday as my domestic day, Tuesday for groceries and Friday for bills. If something interrupted my plan, I was thrown off my game – not just for the day but for the rest of the week. So, if it snowed on Tuesday and I couldn’t get to or didn’t want to get to the grocery store, I would try to make it through until the next Tuesday – which usually didn’t work.

What I discovered instead, is that each day I needed to look at what my plan was and check to see if it would still work. The fact that I had specific things to do on specific days saved me from having to stop at the store on the way home from work, or drop off the tax bill instead of mailing it on a Friday. But if something came up, I figured out the next best plan. Sure, sometimes the laundry (domestic day) didn’t get done until the weekend but it was not the overflowing basket that reminded me to it, it was my plan. This often saved my family from some strange combinations for dinner (whatever was still in the freezer).

What I discovered instead, is that each day I needed to look at what my plan was and check to see if it would still work. The fact that I had specific things to do on specific days saved me from having to stop at the store on the way home from work, or drop off the tax bill instead of mailing it on a Friday. But if something came up, I figured out the next best plan. Sure, sometimes the laundry (domestic day) didn’t get done until the weekend but it was not the overflowing basket that reminded me to it, it was my plan. This often saved my family from wearing dirty clothes and some strange dinner combinations (whatever was still in the freezer).

What I realized is that the best laid plans are the tentatively laid ones. Change them if you have to but at least start with a plan. You might want to think about having a grocery day, paperwork day, errand day, laundry day etc. How’s your plan working today? Tell me on Face Book.

You CAN Beat the Odds

mail-manAt the beginning of a new year, statistics say that some 45% of people make new year’s resolutions. The number two most popular resolution is to “get organized” right after “losing weight” which has become the number one resolution. The statistics also say that a mere 8% of Americans will achieve their resolution. I think when it comes to getting organized, we can do better than 8%, don’t you?

Paper and clutter are the two most common challenges to getting organized. Today, let’s just talk about one source of the paper piles – the mail. Six days a week the mail comes whether you want it to or not. Some days you have time to go through it and other days you may not. There may be decisions that need input from someone else, or more information, bills to pay, magazines to read and of course the most plentiful….the junk mail.

First thing to do to get it under control is to designate a home for the mail. Not having a specific place means it may land on the kitchen table, then at dinner it is moved to the island or the counter, or it gets hidden under a homework book. You get the picture, it needs a home. A clear inbox, basket or bin that is not too large but can hold a typical week’s worth of mail (smaller if you don’t want yours to build up that long) makes a good home or rather a temporary holding zone. Of course, if you can throw out the flyers and shred the junk mail before it goes into the inbox, all the better. If not, that’s okay. Just pick a day of the week when you will go through the entire bin.

On “mail day” sort the mail first into bills, decisions/to do, to read, and junk. Shred or recycle the junk. Next pay the bills. If you pay them online, then set a day of the week that you will do that or do it after the rest of the mail is taken care of. It is becoming increasingly time consuming to have to write out an actual check so those things can sometimes slip through the cracks.

Next, move the magazines to a “to read” basket or throw one or two in your car for those times you find yourself waiting. Or put one or two by your favorite chair and read during the commercials.

What’s left is the mail that requires a decision of some sort. The best way to do that is to just go through it and decide on the things you can and then write a “to do” in your planner for the next action step on anything that is left over. Make it a rule to empty the bin each week and of course try to deal with some of it as it comes in so that your “mail day” can become a “mail hour.” Keep at it and you will beat the odds!

This week I’ll be posting more tips on handling paper on the Laine’s Logic Facebook page. “Like” us so you won’t miss them. Thanks for reading!

January 2013 a Fresh New Start!

procrastination-fortune-cookie-500x300The month of January is symbolic of new beginnings with its clean, unscarred calendar pages. The word January dates back to Roman   mythology. The god Janus was believed to be “the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings,” according to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. How appropriate then, as we open to the new calendar page, that we are filled with expectation as we walk through the doorway leading to a happier, healthier and more organized new year.

January is the perfect month to tie up loose ends. Just like the leftovers that pull at us to eat them, the unfinished, loose ends pull at us and drain our energy. Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life, believes that each unfinished, incomplete or unresolved “to do” is connected to our life energy by invisible cords. The more cords, that is, the more “leftovers,” the less life energy we have for the present. Do you have a phone call you have been putting off, a relationship to mend or end, piles of unread magazines or errands to do? Each of these tasks, whether you consciously think about them or not, continues to drain your energy. Once you systematically start cleaning up and taking care of these “drains” you will feel your energy increase. Start with a blank planner page and list the “to do’s” you have been avoiding. Think about those things that pop into your head when you are trying to get to sleep or that are on scraps of paper covering your desk and write them down. Are there any that you could take care of today, tomorrow or this week? Write the task on the dated planner page and be sure to cross it off once it is completed. As you make progress tying up loose ends you will feel your energy being restored as you juggle less and less of 2012 and gain energy for 2013.

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne

Would your student benefit from organizing help for their academics? Then check out our End Homework Hassle email program that sends daily “lessons” to teach them the skills they need to succeed. January’s Special Pricing is $50 off.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and organized 2013. Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow I'll Do It

Tame your time
Tame your time

The word procrastinate is defined by Webster as, “to put off doing something usually out of habitual carelessness or laziness or to postpone or delay needlessly.” I am not so sure I agree with that definition. Sometimes we have to procrastinate because there simply is not enough time in the day to do it all. If the task is really important it will get done but only when its priority is increased. For example, a student who needs to study for a test, will eventually sit down and study or will have to accept the consequences of a low grade. For the ADHD brain, the pressure of a task that HAS TO get done is often enough of an adrenaline rush to push you to get it done. Sometimes though, you may have to trick yourself by setting false deadlines as if they were real.

First step in eliminating procrastination is deciding what is in it for you and what will happen if you don’t do it? This should help you determine if you are really committed to it. Then determine what is preventing you from completing it. Is it a fear of failure or lack of information? Or are you afraid you cannot do a “perfect” job so you don’t start?

Next, decide to get started. Break the task into manageable pieces or set a time limit and work until the time is up. You may realize it isn’t as difficult as you thought and you can keep going.  Cheryl Richardson starts her day asking herself, “What action do I most want to avoid doing today?” Then she begins with that and notes that things quickly change for the better after that. Remember to reduce distractions before you begin working and reward yourself when you complete the task. Overcoming the procrastination habit leads to healthy feeling of being in control of your life. Want to feel competent and capable? Then do it today!

New Season, New Start: Goal Setting for Autumn

Happy AutumnHappy Autumn! It is now officially autumn and I can see some of the leaves starting to change color here in the northeast. I love fall but I sometimes feel that it is the shortest season of all. Before you know it the cold temperatures will be here with the excitement (notice I didn’t say stress) of the holiday season.

A new season for me means a new start but also serves as a reminder that the year is coming to an end. In fact there are only 98 days left to the year. Isn’t that scary? The reason I know that is thanks to Gary Ryan Blair who runs a “100 day challenge” program. I love the concept that it is not time to give up but rather time to push harder to get those goals off the list so come January 1st you are proud of what you have accomplished and motivated to keep going.

So, I’m taking a different approach this season. I am not going to go crazy (please hold me to that) by taking on EVERYTHING I want to get done between now and winter. Instead I am going to focus on three goals for October, three for November and maybe one for December. The reason I say three is because you can’t just look at one piece of your life without realizing how everything else is related. For instance, if you have low energy, then you can’t possibly be as effective at work or at home. Coaches may use different names for each category but the basic “parts” of your life can be broken down into categories such as; health, money, career, relationships, fun and recreation, physical environment, family, spiritual and personal growth. So I picked three goals for October in the areas of health, home and business. I know that announcing them publicly is the way to make me more accountable. You will check in on me, won’t you?

Here are my SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time specific) goals:

1. Health: I will work out or be physically active three or more days a week for 30 minutes or more for the month of October.

2. Home: I will redo my son’s room by the end of October.

3. Business: I will keep track of the hours I work and separate “work” from “my time” throughout October.

There! Now I am committed to those three goals. I deliberately made them easy to do so that I could be successful without killing myself. If I had said I will work out 5 or 6 days a week for 45-60 minutes, then once I failed, I wouldn’t want to keep going. So, make your goals not so tough that life events could cause you to fail, but also not so easy that you aren’t stretching yourself.

Now please use the comment box below to share your October goals (I’m giving you the last week of September to get ready) and let’s hold each other accountable.

If you’d like me to hold your son or daughter accountable for staying organized with their homework, then check out my End Homework Hassle E-Learning Course.

Thanks,

Laine