Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Organization

One of my children has a birthday in March. He's had his guest list made out since August. Yesterday he pulled out that guest list, which, I might add, he knew exactly where to find, and went over the names of invitees to make necessary changes (a couple new friends have been made and one moved away). He then began to make another list. A list of things we would need for the party. The Harry Potter party.

15 boy gift bags
3 girl gift bags
18 wands
18 ring pops
18 pencils
1 cake

Did I mention his birthday is in March?

Another child is not so organized. He doesn't write things down. He doesn't put things away. He has trouble finding things not only because he can't remember where he put them, but also because he has no idea how to look for them. Really. No idea. If it's not 2 inches in front of his face, it might as well be on Mars. He does his homework, but doesn't turn it in because he either left it at home or lost it somewhere else. He loses coats, lunch boxes, water bottles and bike lock keys. His bedroom is a disaster.

His parent teacher conference was not very positive. His lack of organization is affecting his grades and everything else he does.

After getting this feedback, I came home and ordered Organizing the Disorganized Child from Amazon. It may just be the first of many books I read on the subject, but I'm determined to figure out how to help my kid. It has become clear that his brain is taking a different path from A to B that mine is. I have to figure out what that path is so I can walk it with him and help him learn how to organize.

Darn you underdeveloped frontal lobe!!!

The book outlines 3 different organizational styles with a list of behavioral traits to determine which style your child fits into: visual, spatial and chronological. Ethan didn't seem to fit into any one category. There were things I identified with him in each category. But the thing that really got me confused was that each list contained a similar statement: My child feels disorganized when their work area is...

I don't believe my child feels disorganized. I feel like he is oblivious to any kind disorder around him other than when he is looking for something and can't find it. He doesn't care that he lives and sleeps in squalor; that there is a Twix bar wrapper with a bit of caramel stuck to his pillow case, or that he's put wet clothes into his laundry basket 4 days ago and something is starting to smell, or that his floor is covered with dirty socks, Legos, Nerf darts and weeks of school papers, some of which are important, others which are not.

I know he doesn't like the consequences of his disorganization, but I'm pretty sure he is not making the connection that being organized would get rid of those consequences. Because if he was making that connection, wouldn't he try to be organized? How hard can it be to put your bike key in your backpack? Or your candy wrapper in your garbage can? Or your assignments in your student planner?

I just don't understand.


Natalie said...

Once you're done with all your great research on how to get a child to be organized, could you please share the results with me?

Anna said...

my organization problems (besides not caring) is that I honestly do not remember to do things that would help me be organized. I just need constant reminders - and the will to follow through.

Angela Hunter said...

Wow. that is crazy!