My daughter being particular and organised has really been no surprise to me considering how particular and organised I am.
On a personal level, I find being organised, writing lists, planning and researching things, helps me feel marginally in control. To the extent that, if I am not organised or don’t know exactly what I am doing and when, it sends me into a bit of a spiral and I find it hard to cope or I find things overwhelming. As someone that has suffered with depression and anxiety over the last fifteen years, I am really aware of my triggers and know that by having as much control as I can over certain areas of my life, that everything else is then easier to handle. I don’t know if I am the only one that feels like that – and writing it down is a bit weird as it is hard to know how that makes me sound!
Anyway…my eldest daughter, Sydney, is extremely finicky and likes to know what we are doing this afternoon, tomorrow, next week or rather “what are we doing today?’ (When it is bedtime). She seems to get comfort from knowing what she is doing and when, and feels more content if she is in a routine and things are ticking along as she expects them to.
She also has a memory like an elephant! She remembers everything about her sister being born a year ago, remembers visiting a local swimming pool nearly two years ago, and remembers if you tell her we are going to do something – which is sometimes problematic if you change your mind about going or plans fall through.
To help with managing her expectations of her time and to help her, I created a wall planner for her and each Sunday evening we sit down and fill in the activities for the week ahead. She enjoys looking for the right card; its helped with learning the days of the week, and it certainly helps with her need to know what is going to be happening and when!
To make it, I spent ages researching and looking at things available online but nothing really ticked all of the boxes. I wanted this to be purely about activities for the week and lots of options included lots of other things. I created an A3 chart and got a local stationers to print it out in colour and laminate it for me. I also created sheets of clipart activities and got those printed and laminated too.
The wall had already been painted with a magnetic paint and then painted over, so adding magnetic strips to the back of the activity cards and then to the back of the planner itself, meant that within a few days it was all up and running.
There are so many different activities and I often find we don’t have things we need (like going to a fair!) but it is something I can see evolving as Sydney gets older and certain activities will become redundant and others will replace them.
When Morgan is older, I think she will probably have her own chart, and it will be a shared activity with both of them.
So, now, when Sydney asks what we are doing, I can direct her to her chart to see!