In a recent newsletter from Carol at sizzlebop, she discussed strategies for helping our distracted learners stay organized.
I was delighted to hear about other moms having distracted learners (ADHD, SPD, etc.) with difficulties in keeping their rooms tidy!
REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF STUFF. Carol suggested working hard to keep "things" to a minimum. The less there is to dust, put away, and keep track of, the easier it is for our kids (and ourselves) to keep things tidy.
REFRAMING THE DEBATE. Carol also suggesting using this tip from The Organized Parent. In her post "A Chore by Any Other Name Does Smell Sweeter," Stephanie says that changing the language of chores to "how do we each contribute to the family?" has made a difference in her family's life.
This is also similar to the FlyLady's terminology of cleaning as actually "blessing the home" and shows how to involve kids in blessing the home as well.
While I realize that tidiness is going to be a learned habit, I also try to provide environmental remediations here in the house to reinforce that habit.
VISUAL CHECKLISTS. So one of the things we do is to have the visual to do lists and checklists. These help tremendously.
The nightly routine has always been a stressful time. But things have improved since we have put the visual checklist on his door.
Recently my husband was reminding our son to do his nightly activities. You can not imagine the thrill I had when my son replied, "Yeah, yeah, I know the drill." Wow!
STORAGE SYSTEMS. We've also experimented with different kinds of storage systems for his clothes and toys.
I discovered that my sensory challenged son had difficulty with a couple of things that made his organizing more taxing that it needed to be:
(1) Bending over to reach low drawers - This can be disoriented for kids with vestibular and proprioceptive difficulties
(2) Opening and closing drawers that require two hands and alot of coordination - Given his proclivity towards being "rough" on things we had swapped out a wooden chest of drawers for the plastic kind. That turned out to be unwise.
What worked best for clothes is to have them organized into different open baskets and have them set up higher. You just reach in to get what you need or toss the clothes into their basket when mom gives you your laundry to put away. Of course everything he owes is soft cotton so we don't worry about wrinkles.
Here is a similar idea from rustlabs at instructables:
We now use the plastic drawers for the toys. Each drawer is see though and labeled. He kind find what he needs and knows where to put it back. The drawers are still a bit difficult to open and close but not as difficult now that they aren't filled with heavy clothes. Plus, the reward of getting to play with toys is worth it to him to tackle the task of opening and closing the drawers.
A fabulous solution would be to have those expensive self-closing drawers like this gorgeous example from Old Creamery. But that's a big budget item. Of course, I'm thinking it would be a great investment down the road. I'm guessing his future spouse would appreciate him having this!
Another solution from the wise mamas of many at Lots of Kids is to have a family closet. We have definitely implemented this strategy off and on as it has made more sense in different phases of our family life.
Here is my dream for the ultimate family closet and laundry room from Natural Interior Designs!!!