3 1/2 weeks ago I acquired my GKs either temporarily or permanently. I am a full-time graduate student, part-time employee, and working on my thesis. This hit at the worst time. I live in an RV, so organization and structure is important. Here is what to do to teach your kids structure, which is especially important for special needs children:
1) Have a schedule and stick to it no matter what (exceptions include Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, and so on) If you go off the schedule for holidays, you WILL see cranky children. But, it may be worth it for the occasion.
2) My schedule is that the kids take their medications and vitamins with breakfast every single morning or evening. That way there is no dispute that they were taken.
3) Use plenty of positive reinforcement. This means, give stickers, check marks, or some sort or indication that you are keeping track of their daily progress. Younger children have NO concept of time, so you need to give them a reinforcement each day or for the very young, every so many hours. I give mine a sticker each day they pick up their toys, dirty clothes, and so on. After so many stickers, they get to get a surprise. You can keep them in a bucket in the form on prizes or you can allow them to go to the store to buy items. Whatever works for you is best. My 5 year old can count and knows that she has enough stickers to get such-and-such. The younger one just knows that getting stickers is a good thing. LOL
4) Another thing I do is that our ritual is bath time is at night. You can do it in the morning. I have the kids pick out their clothing for the next day the night before. It gets them excited for the next day. It gives them something to look forward to. They feel secure knowing what to expect.
5) I make sure they put their tooth brushes and tooth paste back where it belongs. It is funny how one child will tattle on the other if he/she doesn't put the toothbrush back where it belongs. It seems like a lot of work, which is it, but at some point, they catch on and they start doing things for themselves, without correction.
6) For the oldest, I have to plan a lunch for her. The youngest gets his lunches made at the school. So, I tape up his lunch menu on the wall. The DGS and I plan her lunches and we make a day by day lunch plan for the week. Once that is done,I tape her lunch plan along with her brother's. That way, there is security in knowing what to expect each day. Children need security.
VicRae, thanks for asking. In general, I've had them for 5 weeks and 1 day as of Thursday. Tonight (Thursday) the kids had a bad night. We are talking about kicking and screaming and whining. I had to put them to bed early as I do not put up with that type of behavior. The kids lost all their privileges and had to go to bed early. The oldest fell right to sleep, so I think they were tired.
Do you know how much longer you are to have the GK's?
They do get tired and irritable at that age. After that long they are probably scared and wondering what is coming next or when they will lose your support too. An RV can be so small sometimes. Hope your summer is cool at night. I have a cousin who livesd in Texas and she says the weather there is really hot. Hope you can have a goos weekend.
VicRae, I will probably have them the rest of their lives. They came here June 10th and the parents have until August 10th--or sooner, to get their acts together. They were told to get a place to live, find transportation, DD has to get a job, SIL has to get a second job or better job, and they are to get Medicaid for the children. Since I've had them, DD hasn't even tried to get a job, SIL was fired, yet again, for stealing, they was told by SIL's mother to find another place to live and they are now living with the lady where they get most of their drugs, and they still have not gotten Medicaid for the children. Since things have gotten worse instead of better, I am sure the state is going to put more demands on the parents, such as taking parenting classes and going to drug rehab center. I am not sure how it will all do down, but I will either be getting custody in December or the state will seek custody in August and eventually revoke parental rights if the parents continue to not comply with the bare minimal required to get their kids back. I foresee that the state is not going to be happy that mommy is not even trying to get her kids back at all. The daddy is walking the 6 or so miles to town (one-way) each day to look for jobs. He hasn't found one as most places do not want to hire a man who has a history of stealing.
Nowadays, some kids just don't want to respect themselves or their families.
My mom has been thinking of trying to take my youngest nephew from my B and SIL too.
They had him after their youngest was 16 yrs. old. Don't figure after they didn't take care of the 4 older ones.
Adam will be 4 years old in Nov. And SIL hasn't even got him potty trained or signed up for preschool. Says she found out she's bipolar after she had Adam. She doesn't even feed him. The oldest son has taught him how to make a hotdog in the microwave so he can eat them, when he's not at home to feed him. The oldest nephew is 24 and has Maul seizures and not suppose to be driving. Him and his other brother are the ones my mom sort of raised when they were in middle and high school. They have 2 sisters. Their dad is serving jail time and trying to keep a roof over their heads. He was driving without a license and no car ins. And the 24 year old has to drive to go pick my brother up and take him to work each night and it just a big mess.
DSIL doesn't even clean the apt. up, just sits on her butt and plays video games and takes meds. She doesn't even do the laundry herself. Their youngest DD has moved kind of back home too. But, she runs the streets with her unemployed BF.
I'm glad you can help your GK's. And Good Luck with your classes this Fall.