If you have every tried to get a child who is gifted to clean their bedroom, you know it can be a struggle for some parents. I have had several parents tell me it is a never ending battle. They tell their child to, “Go clean their room,” only to find the child engage in a making a Lego masterpiece after attempting to organize the pieces.
Why is it so hard for children who are gifted to keep a clean room?
All children (and adults) need to employ executive skills in order to perform basic task. These executive skills help us control behavior. Those who struggle with executive functioning have trouble starting or completing tasks, become overwhelmed easily, have trouble planning, struggle following directions, and find it difficult to switch between tasks. Does this sound familiar?
How can I help my child?
Rather than telling a child, “Go clean your room,” provide small tasks. By keeping it simple, these small goals help students feel successful and help prevent the student from becoming overwhelmed. Perhaps start with, “Pick up all your dirty laundry,” and then add another verbal prompt. When your child is able to follow verbal prompts, try a written checklist. This also works for other areas. Use a check list for your morning routine or after school homework. Remember- KEEP IT SIMPLE!
NAGC: Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning (Website)
Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson, EdD and Richard Guare, PhD. (Book)