B2S Organization: Mid-Term Reboot 2


Every time I start writing for this series I think of the song, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” You know the part, “…and mom and dad can hardly wait for SCHOOL TO START AGAIN.”

I don’t know when your kids start back, but mine won’t go back to school until the 7th! I’m really happy about the time we’ve gotten to spend together, but missing them while they are at school makes the afternoon time we spend together so much sweeter. Anyway…back to school organization, OPERATION REBOOT!

In my last article <click here to get there> I talked about what I had tried at the beginning of the school year – what worked well, what didn’t work so well, and the revelation that the things that didn’t work probably stemmed from some emotional problems that we were experiencing in our home.

You see, my husband and I were trying to love our children, spend time with them, and foster honest and meaningful relationships with them. But they were being little buggers – which totally deflated our hearts and (in all honesty) made us act like little buggers right back. In discovering that tidbit – I discovered why my organization didn’t work.

I love my kids. I am proud of every scrap of paper they bring home and I cherish it with all my being. But because I was feeling under-appreciated and sabotaged whenever I tried to connect with them – I started to resent all the “junk” they were bringing home. My feelings were hurt and I didn’t want to feel that way…so I allowed the clutter to take over and cover up my hurt feelings.

BOOM! AH-mazing revelation! Right?

With that in mind, I knew two things that I could do to remedy the situation.

  1. Stop trying to speak my love language and start speaking my kids’ love languages.
  2. Rework my system so that I could make room for times when I might still get upset.

When I talk about “love languages” what I mean are the special ways that we (adults and children) like to give and receive love. It’s different for all of us, but there are five common languages, as outlined in my most recent favorite book, The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell:

  • Physical touch
  • Words of encouragement
  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service

I like to receive gifts and acts of service. My youngest son likes to receive gifts – and he LOVES to give them. My husband likes touch and quality time. My middle boy likes touch and quality time. My oldest son is in transition right now…he used to love touch and quality time, now I think he’s more inclined towards words of encouragement and acts of service. Anyway – recognizing that the disorganization wasn’t really due to a faulty system, but rather a breakdown in communication has opened up a doorway for my husband and I to change our behavior and to build those strong relationships.

Perhaps your disorganization could have a similar cause?

As a buffer – and because life and organization are a moving target – I’m also tweaking my daily habits. I’m keeping my magazine files to collect the kids papers (and because they’re really pretty). I’m using my Google calendar – which is synced with my husband’s Google calendar – to track all of the school events, appointments, and days off or early release days. We are headed to IKEA tomorrow to get some clever file storage to implement the K-12 yearly keepsakes folders from iheartorganizing.com and the boys and I have a date to sit down and scan their artwork and achievements to make them into a poster! (You can keep up with me on Facebook to see if I actually get any of this done!)

Now, to make sure it’s working, I’ve devised a tracking sheet – lots of corporate teams use these – to chart our progress and measure our effectiveness/efficiency. (I’m not crazy – go with me here…)

Here’s the run-down on how it works:

family-team-work

I decided to work on some tasks that we’ve been faltering on, known as the Metric in this chart…and I selfishly included two chores that I HATE to do all on my own – cleaning bathrooms, and laundry. The other four tasks are “systematic habits” that I want the kids to catch on to. Why? Because in my experience, and according to all the parenting books, having a routine helps people feel safe, in control, and stress-free.

The Baseline is an estimate of about how well we’re performing right now on these tasks. I’ll admit – our inefficiency with the after school routine is my fault. I’m often right in the middle of work when the kids get home and it’s hard for me to refocus. (I’m working on it…)

Our goals for improvement are the Target. I’m setting some fairly aggressive goals for our evening routine and personal inventory because I think they are very important. Evening routine encourages us to spend some snuggle time together and the personal inventory is a way for me to keep tabs on my family’s whole well-being.

You can click on the picture to get a blank pdf version – including a breakdown of the morning, after school, and evening routines that I made for our elementary school-aged children. Feel free to customize and make your own routines for older kids.

evening routine watermark

As an added resource, I wanted to include this newsletter from the NYU Child Study Center. It’s from 2003, but the information is still pertinent regarding how to help your kids get organized. Click this link to get it —>CHILD_org_skills

I may be putting a lot on my plate – but I’m dedicated to raising children with healthy bodies, healthy heads, healthy hearts, and healthy habits. In my next post I’ll talk about some of the reward systems I’m putting into place to get my kids more psyched about establishing and maintaining healthy routines…truthfully – I need the accountability too. There it is again – organization cleaning out the cobwebs in the corners and in my soul!

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