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We moved a few weeks ago and this means we are all still working to put things away and find places for everything. My daughter has ADD symptoms, particularly being easily distracted. (She has not yet been formally diagnosed- we are in the process.)

I know that getting more organized helps her. In our old place, she had an "art corner" in her room, and space for various creations / inventions.

I am struggling with positive ways to help her organize her new room. She will start, but get distracted by finding something she hasn't seen in a while, read a book, etc.

The big thing is that I don't want to enforce an organization scheme on her. I think she's old enough and incredibly smart and independent. Ideally, she'd come up with an organization plan herself, but that just hasn't worked.

So how do I balance having her clean and organize her room (which fits her independence) with helping her get it done (to minimize distraction)?

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Based on experience with two adults with diagnosed ADD/ADHD, if your daughter really has ADD - as opposed to the normal limited attention span of a 7 year old - then big picture strategic things like an organization plan will be exceptionally difficult for her as it heavily stresses executive function. You might be better off just suggesting to her that she use the same organization as in her old room, with an art corner, etc.

Later once everything is in place, you can help her reorganize if she wants to. That way she could get practice at organization, perhaps in smaller pieces, without the massive distraction of recovering from a move.

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    Yes, I'd generally agree. I'm thinking that this weekend, we'll work together trying to collaboratively map the old organization scheme to the new room. – Geoff Hutchison Sep 28 '16 at 15:18
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My wife and I had a disagreement on my daughters' rooms. She's very much into neat and orderly. My daughters and I, not so much. After many discussions, I managed to convince her that there were better uses for her limited time with them than arguing about where the clothing went.

If you can get the dirty clothing in the hamper and keep food from rotting in her room, does the rest of it matter that much? Aren't there things that matter much, much more?

When she grows up and has a place she's responsible for, she'll learn how to keep it clean enough. My eldest manages to keep her apartment quite nice, though you'd never have expected that of her in her youth.

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    While I agree with you in general (and indeed, this was true for me personally), there's definitely indications to me that having at least some organization in the room makes it less distracting for her. So I'm aiming for a "happy medium" level where she at least knows where things go, even if it's not "neat and orderly." – Geoff Hutchison Sep 28 '16 at 15:17
  • Having a designated place for clothing, for example, provides a way to discuss the importance of organization: e.g., Where's my favorite shirt --> Did you put it away in your closet? Did you hang it up or just wad it on the floor? Have you worn it, is it in the laundry basket? Providing an organizational framework to work within can be facilitated by parents, but enforcing too much creates friction and frustration on both sides. It is very, very tough to create such a framework as an adult if you've never had an introduction to why it's important and how to do it. – Acire Sep 28 '16 at 15:37
  • As someone who recently moved out from their parents house, into their own place, I can confirm, I have a much greater desire to keep the place clean, so +1 for that. – RankoChan Sep 30 '16 at 13:16

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