Maintaining an orderly home and organizing the lives of six family members is not always fun… wait, who am I kidding? My Type A personality thrives off of streamlining systems! Ha!
After trying out a few dozen methods, I finally found what works best for us. We set up what we call the “Family Command Center” a couple years ago, and it’s just a designated wall in our kitchen that serves as the home base of reminders, schedules and responsibilities that keep our family functioning (on most days!)
We have a busy family and I LOVE IT, but it requires some organization to make things flow easier for everyone.
While I’m in love with my color-coded Google calendar that I share with Justin (and I mean LOVE), it’s always been helpful for me to have one large physical calendar in my kitchen that I can jot everything onto, and that our kids can use to see the basic family plans going on. I really like using the Blue Sky brand desk pad calendars. The designs range from super minimalist to bright and patterned.
I GOT THIS! CHARTS
I’ve always felt that the title of “Chore Chart” was mundane, and didn’t capture what I wanted to convey. I’ve chosen instead to call them “I Got This! Charts”. This simple change has helped my kids be more motivated to take ownership of their jobs, as well as encourage self-reliance.
My best advice about responsibility charts is BE OPEN TO CHANGE, OFTEN. I used to get so frustrated when my kids would get out of the habit of doing their assigned chores only a few months after presenting a new chart. But I finally realized that just like we as adults need to adapt our routines, kids need that variety of responsibilities and incentives to keep them interested. I’ve included the link to the chart HERE–go to the ‘Share and Export’ option and click ‘Save as Word Doc’–now you will be able to edit/customize it for your family!
Our current system is reward-based in nature, and has been highly successful thus far. All of the kids have a set of tasks they need to complete each day, and they receive a checkmark for each finished task. At the end of the day, if all boxes are checked, they get an hour of free time before bed- they can choose shows to watch, and on the weekends they can also earn video game time (we don’t allow video games on school nights currently bc it seems to cause more problems than I care to handle on a weekday, haha!)
We also use the charts to dictate allowance. Each child starts with $5 each day, but dollars get subtracted for incomplete boxes, as well as rude or disrespectful behavior.
Each family has different expectations for their children, and that varies based on age and ability. The daily tasks we have chosen for our kids cover chores, hygiene, and schoolwork.
Let’s break down each one:
- Bedroom Cleaned: Their beds need to be made (super easy with Beddy’s! Use code ASHLEYROSE for 20% off) and all clothing/toys/books need to be put in their proper places.
- Zone Cleaned: Every week we assign each child a different zone. The four zones are the mudroom, the kitchen, the tv room, and the art room. Their job that week is to maintain the cleanliness of that area. This has really helped them take ownership of the rest of the home, not just their bedrooms. I have a separate Zone page on our command center that reminds the kids what the requirements are.
- Homework/Reading: Pretty self-explanatory. Justin works with the kids on their homework, and we both ensure they do their assigned reading.
- Dinner Chore: I only have one kid help me each night. It honestly depends on who is available at that time, and the caliber of the job. They will usually help me with setting the table, clearing the dishes, or taking out the trash.
- Shower/Teeth: As my kids, especially my three boys, have gotten older, the need for hygiene reminders has doubled! They get to choose if they prefer morning or night showers, but they have to brush at both times.
Another important feature of our command center is our family value page. We sat down together as a family a couple years ago and discussed what matters to us, and what we want the feeling in our house to be. We chose the overarching theme of “Love at Home”. We wanted to aim to be better peacemakers and treat each other kinder. We reference this sheet often, especially during times of sibling conflict. Having those reminders posted in a high-traffic area has urged us to really focus on what matters. Sometimes when my kids are being mean to each other I make them go grab it and read it aloud 🙂
MAKE IT NICE!
Aesthetically I enjoy a neutral command center. For some, this could be a fun opportunity to add color and excitement to keep it an engaging area for your family. I like having these pin boards to set a clean and functional backdrop that sets it apart in the room.
Maybe it’s the former teacher in me, but I LOVE a good laminator! I was tired of ripped, dingey papers that didn’t last, so I made the investment. The Scotch Thermal laminator I use is compact, reliable, and surprisingly affordable. I am always finding new things to laminate, and have already ordered a couple refill-packs of the laminating pouches. It’s also saved me a lot of time and stress to purchase a paper-cutter, and avoid the crooked lines from using scissors. I found this highest-rated one on Amazon and have not been disappointed!
You know the needs of your specific family members, and what will improve the functionality of your home. This is the system that has worked for us, and you’re invited to take and reshape whatever parts of it feel right for you!