So, Selam really resists most organization techniques. She’s kind of a freestyle child, for the most part. Me? not so much. I like my alphabetized CDs thankyouverymuch. I’ve been kind of wavering between wanting her to figure out what works for her, and feeling the need to help get her stuff organized. There are some things that I decide how they will be done or sorted–her clothes, for example, and her arts and crafts stuff (since it’s kept in the dining room). And other things that I’ve sort of let her decide (toys and books).
I have finally gotten the results from a ton of educational and developmental testing back. One thing that the psychologists said to me was that I need to provide her with as much structure as I can right now. Music to my ears! So I made a few changes that have both actually worked! It seems that Selam needs a lot of external structure but internal freedom, if that makes sense.
One challenge we’ve had has been with morning and night-time routines. I found this idea online for printing up the morning and evening routines on sticky-notes for your kids. I gave it a shot. I have used vista print before, and had a coupon, making the whole thing outrageously cheap. (It was less than 12 bucks for 3 pads of morning and 3 pads of night routine.) Selam LOVES it. She can’t read all the words but can figure them out by clues since she really does know what she’s supposed to do every morning and every night (the two word phrase starting with M probably is make bed.) I like it because she gets her things done without my constant nagging and supervision. She likes it because there’s a list and because she does things in the order that makes sense to her, which is not the order that makes sense to me. She also has some control of her time this way because there’s a reward at the end in terms of the amount of time that she has for desired activities. At night, when she’s done we start reading from her chapter book of the week and keep reading until 8:15. If she’s done early, we can get a lot of reading in. Done late? Not so much. In the morning, she can watch TV once she’s done with her list. Today I tried to hurry her up a bit, and she told me that she didn’t want to watch TV, but wanted to do her list slowly. No problem. I shouldn’t have urged her. (We set a timer, so she can see how much time is left until “Mommy nag” time. While I could, as one person suggested, make one list and laminate it, Selam LOVES sticky notes, so that is incentive right there. The only problem is that with the humidity, the sticky notes aren’t staying up very well, so I’m on the lookout for an appropriate receptacle. She doesn’t want to throw them out.
The second change-up involved lunch. I took Susan’s suggestion of buying laptop lunches. Selam has gone from eating all of one thing (usually the least healthy thing in the box) to eating a bit of everything packed–and sometimes all of it. I guess what was happening was that she was just eating the first thing she saw. So now, everything is in there, and when she opens the laptop, she can see all the food (or almost all of it–there are covers on some sections, but she knows what’s inside). Laptop lunches are expensive, I think. But if you just google for coupons, you can usually find one. I bought hers with a 15% coupon (I didn’t buy the cloth carrying case–it fits into her existing lunch box), but while looking around online, I found expired coupons that were even better. Check out their sale page, too. I ended up going back for some extra containers (with the same 15% coupon-woot!) and got her a case (hasn’t arrived yet) that was only $5.99–and I got the 15% on that, too. But bottom line is, Selam likes to visually see everything at one time and be able to organize her meal herself. Because she likes the laptop style, she also puts the containers back in (or perhaps never takes them out, I don’t know) which has meant that the containers have been coming back home! woot!
I am happy to take any other suggestions on how to provide more structure for Selam without over-organizing her. I have a feeling this child will never alphabetize her spices. ….it’s going to make my fingers itchy!