I’ve been working more often with children again, something I’ve done with great delight since early in my career. It often comes about that I work with children in the course of partnering with the parents: first the parents, then the youngster(s). My youngest one-on-one client ever was five. My record number of children on-site while I was going about a session – six: the littlest a babe-in-arms, still nursing, the oldest 16. The oldest, a cheerful, amazingly calm and gentle young man, took charge of the more complicated household chores for the day. The in-betweeners delighted in sorting stuff, re-homing bins and bags and boxes, running gear to me from my kit, breaking down cardboard and filling the trash. It was one of my best appointments ever.
So, in working with kids again, I got curious. Sought out teaching tools. Here’s a small compilation and I can’t even pretend it’s complete. And it’s not in any kind of order despite my profession.
A Clean House isn’t exactly an organizing book, but it is a playful look at teamwork AND an even more sly look at what can go wrong when someone cleans and organizes. I can’t explain without screenshotting the wonderful illustrations (copyright NO-NO!), so you’ll have to find this at your library: being perfect has its good points and bad, and notice Mole’s little shortcuts… There needed to be a second book “OH NO, the Closet Overflowed for Mole and Mouse…”
More is a gorgeous book. With the fewest words I’ve ever counted, it convincingly demonstrates what chaos too much stuff can create. And I’m doubly fond of this book: I’ve loved magpies ever since spending some time in Boise.
This movie, Pete the Cat, Clean Way of Thinking, for the little kid in all of us. Thanks to my NAPO colleague Russ Tybus, Morris Organizers, for alerting the entire professional organizer community to this adorable creature.
My YouTube channel points to a bunch of stuff explaining ADHD to children, “how to clean your room” and other cartoons and I don’t even remember what else.
Katie Unterreiner, MSW, LCSW is an outstanding family therapist who wrote the lively, easy-to-follow book Motivate: Charts and Pictures that Help Children with A.D.H.D. Focus and Organize. I’m not convinced it’s just for children.
Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff by Stacy C. Bauer. I LOVE THIS BOOK. And I will NOT say how many of my clients it reminds me of. Nor their ages. Just to warn parents, terrifyingly, children as young as five have been diagnosed with hoarding disorder. If you as a parent suspect your child has atypical attachments to things, DO NOT HESITATE to find help. The sooner there are interventions, the more successful they can be.
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan & Jan Berenstain. My version of this book, since of course I own all the books I recommend (well, I have to be able to refer to them at a moment’s notice…) has stickers. ‘Nuff said. Not really. Imma gonna stuff some big concepts into a review of a little 32-page book. Mama Bear was an enabler. Papa Bear could begin a second career as an Organizer. YAY TEAMWORK.
Chris Hanson, BS of Life Skills Advocate, partnered with Amy Sippl, MS, BCBA, has produced a thoughtful, far-reaching tool kit, The Real Life Executive Functioning Workbook: A Handbook of Exercises to Help Unique Learners.
Chris Hanson, BS of Life Skills Advocate, The Real-Life Executive Functioning Cookbook. Definitely not gourmet, Le Cordon Bleu, Chicken Cordon Bleu. Life Skills Advocate Chicken Wings. A cookbook designed to help people with neurodiverse skills and mental orientations develop basic cooking skills which they can gradually apply to more and more complex recipes and meals.
All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff by Meghan McCarthy. This 2018 book is the perfect young person’s version of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade and Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale by Adam Minter
Stuff by Margie Palatini I LOVE THIS BOOK EVEN MORE THAN I LOVE Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff. Palatini’s book is funny, to-the-point and convincing. A retelling of The Collyer brothers tragedy, for children, minus the scary. If there were only one book you could give your child to counter his/her/their acquisitive instincts, this would be the book.
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