Organizing the Kids

Every January, I think this will be the year we all get organized. Retailers hop on the bandwagon, touting storage accessories and planners.

Several years ago, I put a big white board on the kitchen wall. It usually has a grocery list running down one side of it and my husband has been using it lately to plan meals. Sometimes there are parts of a calculus problem that I was explaining to my high schooler, other times there are math problems of the second or fourth grade variety.

Last fall, I started writing weekend to-do lists on it for the kids. If I put up a list, the younger kids would bang right through it and get everything done without my having to nag them. They would get up on Saturday morning, see what they had to do, and get it done.

What if we could do that every day? If everyone knows what’s expected and the list is right there so I don’t forget, it should be easier, right? And if they do their jobs, then I will have more time to do what I want to do – like sew! :)

Yesterday I updated the board. Ta-da!
Kitchen job board

The meal plan goes along the top, then there is a row for each of the kids’ jobs and activities for each day. Now they can see what’s expected, I don’t have to listen to arguing about whose turn it is to set the table, and scheduled activities are visible for everyone.

My husband and I use google calendar, which is great because the kids’ sports activities all have ical feeds that automatically update when times and locations change, but that didn’t help the kids to know what was going on. This should help with that, too.

Want to make your own? It’s easy!

My whiteboard is actually a 4×8′ sheet of shower board from Home Depot. It’s lightweight and much less expensive than a “real” whiteboard. Dry erase markers wipe right off. And, you can cut it to whatever size will fit in your space. Ours is 4×6′. The lines are 1/2″ electrical tape. The tape is sold in multi-color packs of 20′ per color, so if you want all the lines to be the same color, you will need to buy multiple packages. I’m just going to work on trying not to be too bothered by having 3 different colors on there.

Here’s a close-up of one of the squares.
one day
Activities are purple, responsibilities are green. The kids can erase them as they are completed. We are off to a good start – everyone emptied their lunchboxes and put the ice packs in the freezer after school yesterday.

Happy Organizing!

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