Do you remember the time you and your sweetheart tried to put the kids' jungle gym together and one of you ended up spending a sleepless night on the couch? How about the day you worked together on the mountains of clutter in your garage? Those mountains threatened to fall on you at any moment and yet you couldn't agree on where to start or what "just had to go." If you have memories like these, you are like many couples who get into trouble when they try to work together on projects. Here is a way to help you get in synch... and play like a professional team!


Couples Project / Teamwork Game for those with ADHD:


1 Baseball Cap
1 Baseball Jersey
1 Willing Couple (only one or both may have ADD/ADHD)
1 Project
Miscellaneous timers, signs, boxes and a good sense of humor

Game Plan:

1. One partner "wears the cap" as the captain (who is also a team player).

2. The other partner is willing to wear a jersey and be a team player.

3. Break the game (project) into manageable "innings."

4. Plan and set aside at least double the time you think it will take to play the game.

5. Focus on one "inning" at a time.

6. Use goals, timers and other tools to help you stay on task.

7. When playing – recognize that you are also practicing and you will not be perfect your first time "at bat." You're rookies now but you will function as a seasoned team with time.

8. Pre-plan a team reward when you WIN!batterup

You are getting the idea. When planning to work on a project together, discuss what will be involved and choose the person best equipped to "wear the cap" as the captain. I recommend the captain wear a baseball cap as a visual reminder of who will be making the final decisions. The other partner wears the jersey to remind the captain that they are a "team." Also consider changing roles (swap the hat & jersey) during some "innings."

With these visual cues, each person is better able to recognize the role he or she will be playing during this project. This is how each role works:

Captain (wearing the cap): Practice being very open to suggestions and ideas, and consider them carefully before making a final decision. By doing so, you will be better able to recognize that there is more than one way to do things and that your partner is an intelligent and important part of the team. Respect and love for your teammate will grow.

Team player (wearing the jersey): Practice accepting that it is "OK" to let the captain make the final decision. You've had the opportunity to offer suggestions and ideas and you've truly been heard. As with the captain, you develop respect, love and also trust in your partner's ability to listen and take your ideas into consideration.

As you practice these roles on various projects, you will each have moments when you "oops." Focus on your own mistakes, rather than your partner's, and apologize as needed without making excuses. Just apologize and move on. As you each go through "try-outs" with these behaviors, accept your mistakes as practice for the "Major Leagues" when you will grow into a team with mutual respect, love and trust.

These techniques can also be applied to family projects. Children can learn to be excellent "captains" who lead the team to victory. 
Parents need only choose projects appropriate for the child's age and abilities. This approach helps children learn responsibility and interpersonal skills that are so important for their development.

So, when undertaking your next project with your partner, remember to decide who will "wear the cap." You really can work and play 
well together. Batter up!

Twila Gates 

ADDA Focus Newsletter Article: In Print

Authored by Twila Gates, RN, Senior Certified AD/HD Coach
An article for couples where one or both have ADHD