Managing time and being organised

Life skills

Managing time and being organised

This section helps you to:

  • Give practical support to help children build their time management and organisational skills.

On this page:

  1. Managing time ↓
  2. Keeping organised ↓

Managing time

Children with ADHD have been shown to exhibit more disorganised behaviour than children without ADHD.

  • They may get distracted by activities around them
  • They may find it difficult to understand or estimate how long it takes to complete a task.

As a consequence, they may find managing time challenging. One mother said:

Time is their enemy, children with ADHD

Time management can be improved by the following suggestions, which focus on the key strengths of the child.

Break big tasks into small, achievable steps

Make sure the child can tell the time and either has a watch or electronic device to display the time

Set a time to complete each small step (e.g. 17:00)

Use an alarm to signal when it is time to move on to the next step or have a break

Display a timetable in a prominent place so that the child is aware of deadlines

Have clear rewards for good management of time at school and home, for example, if homework is completed on time

Plan ahead and involve choices where possible

You can use this downloadable tool to help with these steps.

Time management

A tool offering practical support to help children build their time management and organisational skills


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Keeping organised

Keeping organised can also be a challenge for a child with ADHD.

Use colour-coding to make information on schedules easier to understand

Check to see that the child is keeping to the schedule and offer praise

Use checklists of what to take home and what to take to school

Use appropriate storage areas for books, clothes, toys etc. and produce a chart to show where things should be kept

Keep a homework diary and include materials that are to be either brought home or taken to school

Implement a reward system to encourage achievements related to organisation

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Biederman J, et al. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67:524-40.

Brod M, et al. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2012;10:47.

Brod M, et al. Prim Psychiatry 2005;12(6):58-64.

Coghill D, et al. Child Adoles Psych Mental Health 2008;2:31.

Coleman D, et al. Psychiatr Serv 2009;60:950-7.

Dosani S. Calm your hyperactive child (2008). Oxford, UK: Infinite Ideas Ltd.

Elia J, et al. Child Adoles Psych Mental Health 2008;2:15-23.

Klassen AF, et al. Pediatrics 2004;114;541-547.

O’Regan F. How to teach and manage children with ADHD (2010). Nottingham, UK: LDA.

These materials have been produced with practical advice and guidance provided by the expert European ADHD Awareness Taskforce.