Five Tools Parents—and Kids—Can’t Live Without
As a freelance writer and mother of five, there is no room in my life for ADHD. Yet there it is. Every day, I struggle with disorganization , procrastination, distraction, and a host of other “tion” words I could do without. Then comes the guilt and shame. “Other moms can do it all,” I think. “Why can’t I?”
Instead of wallowing in shame, I’ve brainstormed ways to stave off chaos. These are the five tools that have worked best for my family:
> Hanging clothes organizers labeled with the days of the week
What to do:Hang an organizer in each child’s closet and place one complete outfit on each shelf.
Who it helps:Obviously, this helps the kids find their clothes more easily on busy mornings, but it’s also an easy way for Mom and Dad to see how many more days they can put off doing laundry.
Another completely magical use:Place another organizer in the mud room or near the front door. Because the organizer is labeled with the days of the week, it is a wonderful place to store school library books, gym clothes, and other things that kids need only on certain days each week. Teach your kids to check the appropriate pocket on their way out the door each morning.
> Use snack baskets
What to do:Buy one small basket for each child in the family. Each night before bed, place two or three parent-approved snacks in each basket for the kids to enjoy the following day. When a child’s snack basket is empty, he can either grab a piece of fruit or wait until the next meal to eat.
Who it helps:Children will learn to snack in moderation. The baskets will the constant requests of “Mom, can I have a snack?” It also regulates children’s snacking so that forgetful parents don’t have to try to recall which child has already eaten what.
> Hand up a color-coded calendar
What to do:Hang a wipe-off calendar on the refrigerator and assign each family member a different color marker. Teach kids to write in their activities for the day and the times they are scheduled for.
Who it helps:Kids learn responsibility and organization, and it assures that Mom and Dad will be on time for activities.
> Set smart phone alarms
What to do:Every morning, Mom or Dad should set alarms on their phone based on the activities written on the calendar. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to leave.
Who it helps:The entire family stays organized and is on time for activities.
> Designate a basket for school papers
What to do:Place a laundry basket in a central location and teach your kids to place all school papers inside. Before bed each night, Mom or Dad needs to empty the basket, signing all field trip permission slips, PTA forms, and so on. Place the papers into the right backpack.
Who it helps:Everyone! No human being can keep track of all the paper that comes home from school. Placing school papers in one location cuts down on those panicked early-morning searches and meltdowns—by kids and parents.
These tools have helped my family show up to many events on time, with the right equipment, wearing clean clothes.
Occasionally, I can do it all.
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