Monday, January 16, 2012

Charts, lists, and routines...oh my!

All parents feel overwhelmed at one point or another.  Being organized and structured can help tremendously, but what does that really mean?

  • Well... you can start with introducing yourselves to a calendar.  Electronic, paper, or memory based (I would really discourage using the latter) can work.  Parents often tell me their kids have a busier calendar than they do.  By being organized you can make sure you keep your kids schedules intact, and make sure you have time set aside for your self as well.  You may use an actual calendar, or something more child specific like the one below, which was shown in Oleana's blog.  
Calendars, if paper-based or written on a board, should be in an area where all the family can see it, like the kitchen or living room.  
Check out Oleana's post about these great printables
  • The second item that helps with organization is creating a daily routine for your children.  Using visual charts for young children, or children with special needs, is usually VERY helpful.  I often encourage parents to do it as a family project.  Take pictures of your child doing the behavior/activity, and then stack the pictures up or across according to time.  If you are unable to do it, use the available printable charts like the one below, which was also shown in Oleana's blog.  These will usually be for basic routines, not a full day schedule.  

Routine charts are best kept in your child's room.
  • The third item on the list would be to create a list of house rules.  This not only teaches your children discipline, but it also allows for understandable and clear guidelines for you as a parent of when and how to punish.  See my two posts about discipline to learn more about rewards and punishments (Disciplined 1, Disciplined 2)
Rules charts should be in the living room and/or play area.

  • A fourth item on our organization list is the "reward chart".  This is saved up for behaviors you would like to encourage and nurture in your children.  Do NOT punish a child when s/he does not do the behaviors on this list, but reward them when they do.  This chart aims to motivate your child, it is not intended as another list of rules.  I would usually encourage using two behaviors at a time for a period of 3-4 weeks.  Once these behaviors are mastered, you can substitute with two new behaviors.  The chart can also be done by using pictures of your child doing the goal/behavior.  
You may choose to have an actual big chart such as the one below, or keep a notepad with you and you can add stickers or happy faces to it, as in not to overwhelm your house with charts:)

Let's get organized!

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