How I tell my son, with ADHD, to clean his room.

How I tell my son, with ADHD, to clean his room.



There is no way I am able to just tell my son, with ADHD, to clean his room. I love him to death, but it’s more of a punishment for me to just say “Go clean your room”

I have ADD, so I have an understanding of ADHD know what its like to be on the receiving end of being told to clean my room. It doesn’t work out so well.

The brain wants to run on overdrive. Then as the simple process of cleaning begins it becomes not so easy. Picking up one thing, then another, until the problem happens of finding something that needs to be played with. 

I hate to admit it, but it’s common when it comes time to clean the room. So I had to come up with a new idea.

I decided one day that I would make a list. It only takes a moment. I took it upon myself as his mother to look over his room. I mean come on. I see his room every single day. I pass it on my way to my own room.

Upon looking at the mess before me I decided to pick categories of items.

  • Clothes
  • Blankets
  • Stuffed animals
  • Blocks
  • Books
  • Legos
  • Trash
  • Other toys

By making him a list he was able to pick up his room. Now granted I began with the big items first, along with some easy ones, like clothes. It made my job easy. When I was asked if he could come out or if I was told he was done, I reminded him of the list. Is the list done? If the answer was no, then back up to the room.

Now, I do give grace periods for snacks and a break. Why do I do this? I do this because he won’t stay focused on cleaning if he’s stuck in his room for long periods of time. I don’t want what I call World War 3. This way the job is completed.

I won’t say this works every time. Sometimes it fails, but for the most part, I have success. However, it does make life a lot more manageable.

I can’t set a standard for him that might be way out of his reach. Being able to tidy his room is one thing. Now I know setting the task for him to keep his room clean on a daily basis isn’t accomplishable.

Setting the goal at something that’s unobtainable for him does neither of us any good. All I see happening from that is more frustration. The goal is to help my son be able to do great things with ease. Not cause him to become frustrated and believe he isn’t good enough.

I can’t treat him like his sister, nor can I expect the same things from them. They are totally opposite. I can’t allow him to believe that I love him any less because his sister can, for the most part, keep her room clean.

I know what to expect out of his sister and I have had to have many talks with her. She understands (helps she is much older) that her brother needs help. Sometimes I can get her to remind him or help him in little ways to stay focused.

There is no special treatment for either child on the topic of cleaning their room. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes a lot of patience from me.

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11 thoughts on “How I tell my son, with ADHD, to clean his room.”

  • This is a wonderful way I think for everyone to clean, especially for your son. Good job mama for working so hard to help him!

  • Great tips and ideas. It is so frusturating to get my son to clean his room at times. Next time I will have to make a list to get him to stay on track and be more organized!

  • This is great. My daughter is young but I can tell she has it. My husband has it pretty bad and I have to make him list of things that need done or else he is coming back to me every few minutes asking what all it was we needed done. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So list are sooo vital for ADHD people. Thank you for sharing.

  • This is so good Mama! Great job relating to your son, and speaking in a way that HE understands. I think this is something that we all should strive for. I love how you mentioned the differences between him and your daughter. It is so true that every kid is different. I feel that each one has their own special language. <3

  • I can relate to this so much. My son has ADHD and so do I. Written check lists have been our saving grace when it comes to cleaning his room. I literally need to give step by step directions. Thanks for sharing. It reminds me I’m not alone

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