Military family life is complicated and special needs parenting is no picnic. Combine the two and you have a family with much more on their plate then the average one.
Welcome to my world! My family is composed of me (SAHM/Blogger), GI Joe (career soldier), Blondie (our special needs child) and Ginger (our spunky baby). We have A LOT going on continuously and have to attempt planning for the unexpected because we KNOW the unexpected will happen (usually on a daily basis.)
Military family life requires planning (even though the plans always change) and organization. Our special needs child requires routine, consistency and structure to thrive. Mommy hood requires schedules, plans, notes and more to stay sane.
I learned long ago that I am not a natural organizer although I crave order. After our first PCS, first child and especially after Blondie’s diagnosis of ADHD, adjustment disorder, sensory processing disorder and other issues I HAD to do something. I developed a time management system for our household!
The time management system I have in place revolves around several different methods and visual aids. It is constantly a work in progress as needs change, during deployments and as the girls grow older. Our main focus is home management, paperwork organization, daily routines, responsibilities, rewards, schedules and “mom’s stuff.”
- Home Management- I created a home management binder for our household. It includes sections on each family member, emergency information, insurance, medical, finances, contacts, school information/handouts, meal planning and so much more. Basically, I included all the information about us and our lives in one place. It is easy to carry, customized and I can add/delete/update sections as needed.
- Paperwork Organization- Medical Records, I created a binder for each family member which includes medical records, doctor’s business card, insurance cards and school records (IEPS, testing, etc.) General paperwork, I developed a filing system in which every piece of paper coming into our home has a place (a labeled hanging file/shredder/trash.) Photographs, I have photographs organized in files by year or decade in hanging files, on the computer and an external hard drive.
- Daily Routines- The girls have strict morning and bedtime routines and it is posted with pictures in their hallway. Going through the same routine for consistency provides comfort and security for Blondie and a daily plan for us all.
- Responsibilities- Both girls have chore charts with responsibilities suitable to their ages (2 and 5.) They also have to pick an extra chore out of the box when they forget to pick up toys, get in trouble at school, etc. Ginger also has a potty training chart and we track her progress.
- Rewards- We like using positive reinforcement with our girls. Blondie is much more responsive to this method. Weekly “reward bucks” for complete chores & successful potty training, “Caught ya doing good” moments and “staying green (our color behavior management method)” are what we use as rewards. After receiving $20 in “reward bucks” they trade them in for a treat from the “Reward Box.” Treats include a new toy, afternoon with mom or dad, trip to the park, lunch and a movie and picking the family meal.
- Schedules – We love schedules! We track yearly, monthly, weekly and daily schedules. They are posted on the wall, iPhones/iPads and in the household management binder. It keeps everyone on the same page and with an idea of what is coming up.
- “Mom’s Stuff” – I created a yearly planner for my blog. It has helped me tremendously to save time, keep from having writer’s block and develop a streamlined blogging schedule. The planner includes monthly and weekly post schedules, social media statistics, writing prompts/ideas, advertising plans and so much more.
That is just a short description of our family’s time management system. I also have systems for cleaning, closets, handling clutter and just about everything else! You can find more information about those and so much more at Live, Love & Learn with Ms. MommyHH6 at www.msmommyhh6.com.
A time management system for military families and special needs families is highly recommended. We have enough stress, uncertainty and lack of time without adding to the complexities of our unique family situations. The goal is less stress, more family time and the ability to roll with the unexpected!
Live, Love & Learn……
Raven W. Green is an Army wife of 10 years, mother of 2 little miracle girls, special needs advocate, avid book reader, social media & tech geek and aspiring author. Raven has an A.A. from Gaston College and a B.A. from Belmont Abbey College. Among the many roles she plays, she is a Founder/Group Leader of MOSNAB: Moms of Special Needs Army Brats, a Contributing Blogger/Group Leader at MSNN: Military Special Needs Network and an Admin at Army Mommies 101.
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