Your loved one comes home from school or college. They drop their belongings on the floor and gravitate to their toys, their electronics, or the kitchen- or both. Or maybe your loved one comes home from a day of work and they still gravitate to electronics or the kitchen. When it comes to ADHD, these habits can happen at any age, and they frustrate their neurotypical loved ones.
When I worked a job helping kids with ADHD manage their behaviors at home and in the community, it was a daily reminder for the kids to put their backpacks, shoes, and coats in the designated spots, take out their homework, start it and stay on task, and put their homework away before going to activities they enjoyed. As an adult, I come home on Fridays and often leave my lunchbox with my work bag, full of empty containers and a melted ice pack. I’ve written about setting routine before on this site and how it helps manage ADHD behaviors. If you did that, I’m proud of you! If you’re still frustrated, keep reading.
Someone with ADHD completing a routine of non-preferred tasks might be running on autopilot to get it done, they might do it to get what they want faster or avoid complaints from others, or they might be okay with doing it and be receiving guidance until it becomes a habit. The key is consistency.
Sure, those in the household are probably tired of repeating the reminders and steps every day, but this is important. Consistency teaches and reinforces expectations and guides behaviors. Verbal guidance of each task or a checklist with each task will alleviate ambiguity when it comes to what the person is responsible for, and maybe when they’re responsible for doing it. No matter their age, this strategy can be highly effective. Make sure the consequences are also clear- this aids with motivation.
If a child or teen knows the routine but isn’t doing it, verbal reminders of tasks help, but reminders of consequences do too. If that isn’t enough, consistently using those consequences is important. The delay of a desired activity, the loss of a desired activity. For adults, if they don’t do what they need to do, they don’t have clean items to eat with, cook with, or wear- this can include if someone else sticks to not picking up their slack for them. If someone else in the household does the laundry and the teen or other adult doesn’t bring their dirty laundry as requested, their laundry doesn’t get washed and they need to figure out the consequences that naturally follow.
What Else Can You Do?
If your loved one or household is struggling with these habits and you don’t know how to start or struggle to follow through, reach out to Sound Health Counseling Solutions today! We’ll work with you to create a personalized plan of action.