4 Apps to Help Add Structure to Your ADHD Kid’s Routine

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Adding Gratification to Chores

The ADHD brain craves novel experiences that provide instant feedback. It makes complete sense to play Super Mario 3D World for hours, but spending 15 minutes vacuuming is next to impossible.

Here's a novel solution: EpicWin. This smartphone app brings adventure to chores. Input your tasks, choose an avatar, and go on a quest for cleanliness. When you conquer a real chore, you earn points in the game. Anything that makes tackling dishes or folding laundry more fun is pretty “epic” in our book! Life with ADHD is challenging – why not get a little help? Technology-based structures and systems can bring calm and order to your ADHD house.

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Technology and ADHD

Technology is a tool. Just like a hammer can be used to build a house or to tear it down, technology can be an obstacle (especially when you're trying to pry your kid away from a video game because he has soccer practice in ten minutes!), or it can be a godsend. Here are just a few examples:

  • Time Timer. When a mom struggled to explain time to her four-year old daughter, who didn't understand the concept or have a good way to gauge how long tasks took or how much time had passed, she created this handy device. The Time Timer makes time visible. Your child can see how time elapses, how much time he has left for play or for homework, and start to manage his time more effectively.

  • Key Locators. Something as simple as a device that helps you find lost keys can be a game-changer! ADHD folks tend to lose things, especially keys. Especially when they have to be at work and are running late. This is also a great one for drivers' license-wielding teens.

  • Remember the Milk. What did I go to the store for? Now you'll remember. With this app, you can create and manage to-do lists and notes, sync them to your devices, and update them at your convenience. Working memory is a significant challenge with ADHD brains, and there is a wide variety of apps and gadgets to help accommodate for this deficiency. From sticky note programs to those that track and organize your appointments, assignments, and deadlines, you can create more organization and calm in a stressful, fast-paced life.

  • Play Attention Games. “Inspired by NASA technology, Play Attention uses powerful advancements of neurofeedback technology that allow you to control the computer by mind/attention alone. “ You don't need to be a rocket scientist to play these fun games, which teach focus, attention, and other essential skills. But who knows? You or your kid may become one!

Many apps or gadgets are just as appropriate for parents as they are for children. When we give ourselves the tools to manage the stress of parenting or our own ADHD, we're setting our kids up for greater success.  I have an appointment on my calendar at 8:00pm, for instance, to check with my kid on homework assignments. It's his assignment, but I know I need to be his backup, so this is a structure for me.

Routine Is Key

Whether low- or high-tech, the key to making systems and structures work is to create routine. If, for instance, your kid needs help remembering what to do in the morning, something as simple as setting alarms or timers can help. At 7:00, we wake up. At 7:05, we get dressed. At 7:10, we eat breakfast. This structure helps your child complete the tasks necessary to get them out the door on time. Technology can help us do that more reliably, especially when we're dealing with our own ADHD tendencies!

There are countless app, gadget, software, and device options out there. Before you head to the App Store or Market, set a timer! You could get sucked in and spend hours looking at all the apps that will help you not get sucked in and spend hours on this type of thing!

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