Having three children with high-functioning autism requires daily structure on my part. I am an organizational freak to a fault, but even I love me some “organized chaos” from time to time. My kids, however, aren’t so fond of not knowing what’s coming up or what’s going on. So I made them this scheduling area by the front door to not only keep them in the loop, but make it easy enough for me to not feel committed to some intricate details that I usually give up on after a week.
Purchasing a cheap pack of four cork boards was the biggest expense. The rest was planning and raiding my supplies. Since I live in a rental (and even after three years I’m still aiming to get that deposit back one day) I knew I couldn’t do anything permanent to the walls. Using 3M command strips, I hung each square on the wall. (sidenote: those command strips are a renter’s dream and I would marry them if I could.) Grabbing 2 sheet protectors lets me change things monthly for the calendar and menu. The sheet protectors are hung by the permanent squares that came with the boards.
The first square holds special notes such as report cards, or prized artwork. It’s at the top because, well, don’t special notes deserve a spot at the top? Yes!
The second square holds a calendar with notes for doctor appointments, days out of school, and when report cards/progress reports come out. The template was a blank form found online, so I can print and reprint as needed.
The third square may be my pride and joy. Each morning I had to wager a guess on the weather since we walk to school every day. I take a few moments the night before to check the weather online (no cable in the house — do we sound ancient yet?), then simply move the arrows to the appropriate boxes. The school-aged kids (ages six and nine) can read the words and know which jacket and accessories to grab before heading out the door. The pins don’t go all the way through the board to save my walls from a million holes.
The fourth square holds the school lunch menu. My 6-year-old has food sensory issues, so we have to plan ahead if he is taking a lunchbox or eating school lunch. Putting it where he can read it helps him practice his reading while letting him decide if he wants to eat school lunch. Giving the kids advance notice helps them make their own decisions (and takes stress off me so I’m not guessing every day).
How does your family organize your lives?