Thursday, January 24, 2013

Feed Me!! (Please): A Plea From the Household Pets

Is anyone familiar with this scenario?

We have a hungry dog, hungry cats, hungry gerbils and hungry fish. We have LOTS of pets. We also have 6 potential feeders in the family. I ask endless questions of "Did anyone feed the ..." (insert here- cats, dog, fish, etc.). Whisper, pictured above, is polite, but she at least paces when hungry and gets underfoot. The cats will RUN towards the laundry room whenever anyone ventures to the back hall, also tripping us. They can advocate for their needs. The gerbils and fish are at our mercy. The cats and dog are also prone to asking for more than their normal portion. I never seemed to know if the animals got fed AND I didn't want to do it all myself.
So I decided to take action.

I designed the form below:
I added some magnets labeled with different colored dots,
one for each pet type, marked C, D, G, F;
and placed it on the fridge.
(Because our dog gets meds twice a day
I added smaller magnets in the same color for her,
to help track that, as well.)

Here is the end result; 
an easy to use,
easy to read record of which pets have eaten:
It will take a bit of training and encouragement to teach your family to consistently use this tool,
but your calm persistence will pay off in a few weeks.
For help with this or any other organizing project,
Simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pre-Picked Outfits = An Easier Morning

Some children rise early and meet the dawn with a sunny outlook, and begin the daily preparations with a smile. This is my daughter, Megan. Other kids (maybe the majority) are slower to mobilize and need additional prompting to move through the daily routine. This is my daughter, Shanna. Both are 8 years old, both are completely capable. One is self motivated and self structuring, the other is a bit more dependent on me and my structure. One of my goals is always to create independence in my kids, helping them to develop tools to increase self sufficiency and confidence.

So, we decided to organize weekly outfits to streamline the morning routine. This is not a new idea, and one I had used before, with success. The only thing was that this time, Shanna was older and capable of participating in the set up & maintenance, if I kept it simple. Last time, I used clothes pins to put the outfits together on hangers, but I found it hard for the kids to do themselves and it looked a bit messy. This time, I decided to pack a weeks worth of clothing the way I do when we travel, and this is what I did.

First, I made cute labels for each day of the week,
on 3x5 index cards:

Then we went to the closet and picked out 7 outfits.

Using Food Storage Baggies
(not ziplocs, just plastic bags)
we folded the outfits and put them into the baggies.
If tights or special socks were needed,
we added those, too.

Then we put the labels into each bag.

Finally, using some baskets I had in the attic,
I taped a label on the outside of each basket,
piled the outfits in the baskets, in order of days.

And the final result!
Shanna, proud of her outfits and her efforts.
Maintenance is every Sunday evening, the girls pick out seven more outfits.
I have found that doing the laundry for the girls on Sunday is very helpful in having all their outfit choices available, so no one is asking "where is my such and such"!

If you don't have closet shelf space to keep the baggies of outfits, you can always use under the bed storage (slide out bins) or use a travel suitcase or duffle bag for even more added fun!

This is a great technique to use for children with sensory processing disorders, ADHD, children on the autism spectrum, or any child with special needs or not!

For help with this or any other organizing project,
Simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.