Welcome to Part 3: The More You Know, the Better You Can Organize - Exploring your child’s world.
If you missed Part 2: What you need to teach kids how to be organized. , please click here.
The More You Know, the Better You Can Organize
- Exploring your child’s world
In order to make your environment more predictable and better organized it’s important to gather information. If your goal is to reduce your child’s challenging behavior and enjoy the positive outcomes that better organization, structure and routine will have on your child, you need to know what its like to be your child and what her triggers are.
Think of it as playing detective. Make a commitment to wear your detective hat as often as possible. It’s important to be intentional about it so remind yourself to stay alert by leaving yourself ‘post it’ notes around the house.
You may also want to keep notes of those ‘a-ha’ moments when you find yourself saying, “So that’s why he responds to . . . in that way.” You’ll be surprised by the insight you accumulate.
All of this research and detective work will help you know when and where, and under what circumstances your child needs extra guidance, assistance and organizational structure. This crucial information will guide you to make the best organizing decisions possible to get the results you want.
Here’s a list of areas to focus your detective work on:
Your child’s world:
Put yourself in your child’s place. Try living in your child’s skin for a few days. Live life through her eyes.
- How does she experience the world around her?
- How does her sensory system handle incoming stimulation?
- What increases her anxiety? What calms her?
Never assume that she interacts with her environment the same way you do.
Your child’s organizational style:
- Does your child line things up? Sort things? Ask yourself - why does he do that? What happens if he doesn’t do it?
- Does your child react with anxiety or fear when things are out of place?
- Is there any order to his play - either by himself or with others? Is there a special sequence he tends to follow?
- How does your child give or follow instructions? Ask him to give you an instruction for a simple task. Does it involve one or more steps?
Your child’s attention span:
- At its best, how long is your child’s attention span?
- Under what conditions? – home/school environment can be very different.
- In what context? With what activities, screens, or people.
Your child’s sensory issues: touch, smell, sight, sound. . .
- How does your child experience a certain smell, sight, sound, taste or touch?
- What does her environment look like, sound like, smell like, feel like, and even taste like to her?
- Notice what your child’s body does when anxious - racing heart, sweaty palms sweaty, stomach ache, headache, clenched fists/jaw, etc.
Your child’s executive function: – ability to get the “big” picture and multitask.
- Is your child oblivious to or overly focused on details?
- Can your child make decisions easily?
- Is your child able to plan simple activities, such as getting dressed, getting homework done.
Your child’s ability to generalize:
- Is it difficult for your child to generalize information and skills learned in one context to another?
Your child’s ability to transition:
- Does your child have difficulty dealing with change and transition?
Once you have gathered all of this information about your child you can use it to make the environment more organized to her needs and create an ‘organizer friendly’ atmosphere to help her become more adept at being organized.
For more strategies to help you, and your child, become more organized when it comes to school contact me at 207-615-5457.