Parenting Tips for Moms and Dads with ADHD

9 Tips for Parents with ADHD

mother and kids cleaning in kitchen
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Here are some simple strategies parents with ADHD can implement at home to make life more organized and enjoyable.

Develop a Positive Self-Concept

If you catch yourself talking or thinking negative thoughts about yourself, stop! Be positive. Focus on your strengths. This is especially important as a parent. Our children learn what they experience. If you focus on what you can’t do, your children will adopt this same attitude – especially if they struggle with the same ADHD traits that are causing you frustration.

Write Things Down

Use a large master calendar for the family. Write all appointments, school functions, birthdays, etc. down on the calendar. You can even color code it to each individual family member.

Keep plenty of pads of paper and pencils/pens available around the house in designated areas, upstairs and down (and in your car and purse). Use the pads to write down any important things you need to remember. Post-it notes also serve as wonderful reminders. If you are away from home and can’t write something down, call home and leave a message on your answering machine!

Make “to-do” lists for each day. Be careful not to over-schedule your time with too many “to-dos.” Allow extra time for unplanned interruptions.

Keep a White Board and Markers in the Kitchen

Write down the week’s menu on the board. Keep it simple, but healthy – spaghetti and salad, sandwiches and veggies, leftovers. You don’t have to be a master chef.

Don’t be afraid to order out a day or two of the week. Fridays make great pizza nights!

Hang a pad of paper by the white board and attach a pen or pencil by a string. Use this pad for your grocery list. If you open the fridge and see you are low on milk, write milk down on your list. Encourage other family members to help with this.

If your son notices there are only two more cheese sticks left, he can write this item down on the list, too. By the time you head out to the grocery store, you will already have a list of needed items.

Use Timers

Kitchen timers and watch alarms are great reminders. It is so easy to get involved in something and lose track of time. To help you remember appointments, time to leave to pick up the kids from school, time to turn off the sprinkler, etc., set your timer. The timer on the microwave or oven works great, too. As an added bonus, these timers often continue to beep until you turn them off manually. Just be sure you can hear it go off no matter where you are in the house. If you are away from home, use an alarm on your watch.

Designate Areas for Important Items

Where are those keys? Those glasses? Those shoes? It is easy for these things to get lost! To help you (and your children) keep track of these essential items, designate areas in the house for them. Use a key rack for car and house keys (be sure to make extra sets of them both, just in case).

Put a coat rack near the door and use it for all coats. Hang a lower coat rack for the kids to use. Use cubbies for the children’s backpacks and shoes. Designate a special area just for glasses and your pocketbook. Keep a second pair of glasses in the car.

Reduce Clutter

There is something about clutter that can make a person feel so unorganized and overwhelmed with all there is to do, that they simply don’t do anything. When looking around a house with clutter and thinking about cleaning, even the most together person may feel like throwing in the towel. Rather than giving up, get help. Enlist a friend, family member, or professional service. Get rid of all the “stuff” you don’t use. Then use large plastic bins in each of the rooms to help with future cleanups.

Create Simple Daily Routines

There are particular times of the day when simple routines make the whole day run much more smoothly. If morning time is rushed and chaotic, it is sometimes hard to recover and may set a negative tone for the rest of the day. On school days, try to get up at least a half hour to forty-five minutes before the children. Once you are ready and together, you are better able to help the kids with whatever they need. Keep breakfasts simple. Make school lunches and snacks the night before. It will be one less thing for you to do in the morning. Homework and bedtime are other important times of the day to have a simple routine.

Learn to Say No

Many parents tend to take on too much and as a result become overwhelmed with all there is to do. It is important to learn to say “no.” When the school calls asking you to organize an upcoming class party and you know you already have a lot to do, it is okay to tell them that you just can’t do it right now. Perhaps there will be another time you can contribute.


Get into the habit of delegating and sharing the responsibilities. Your children can help with chores around the house. Sit down with your partner and sort out all the regular household chores that must be done. Let him take care of the tasks that are more difficult for you. Maybe he is better at keeping up the checkbook, writing out the bills, or grocery shopping. Hire help with housework. Use a local college student or responsible high schooler as a mother’s helper or babysitter if you have young kids. Don’t try to do it all alone. Get help!

Additional Reading:
Moms with ADHD
Parenting with ADHD
Women and ADHD

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