This is the third week of our “Preparing to Impress” series. Click to start at the beginning.
We have tried our share of chore charts. Tried chore posters. All without success. I needed something that my children could use to remind them of their daily schedule and contributions (aka chores). Something that they could carry from room to room and that could be used in a tangible way.
After much thought I came up with a Family Command Center that has worked well. And the great thing about it is that we can use it for many years to come. When they are in high school I will be attaching notes and phone messages!
1) Purchase one 9×13″ cookie sheet per child (or person in your family). Dollar Store and Walmart sells them really cheap.
2) To hang the sheets on the wall, poke two holes in the top lip 2 1/2″ from the sides using a nail and hammer. String ribbon or string through the holes.
3) Decorate as you choose. I used scrapbook paper glued using rubber cement to cover each sheet. Then brushed Mod Podge over the sheets to protect the paper. Note: The Mod Podge made the paper bubble but after drying it smoothed out. I also added each child’s name towards the bottom of each sheet using letter stickers (not shown in the pictures).
4) Next, I created the magnets. I started by making Marble Magnets from flat marbles
and magnetic buttons. While they look great on the boards…not practical. Inevitably my kiddos dropped the marble magnets causing the magnet to break off and the glass to crack. In making the marble magnets, I created a Word document with several
activities and chore ideas. Unfortunately, I didn’t think it through as
much as I should have and ended up with several magnets not needed.
Option #2: Metal Rim Key Tags Glued to the magnetic buttons, they were simple to make and don’t break apart when dropped! If you can find the magnets with the adhesive backing, it is even better! Another great point about the key tags is that within a few seconds, I can have a new one made since I just use a pen to write the word.
Because Bubs requires each step of a task laid out, his magnets are very specific. Sweet Pea can have more general tasks so she has fewer magnets. For those who can’t read, I suggest drawing, using stickers, or cutting out pictures for each magnet.
5) Hanging: To hang each board on the wall, I used Command Small Wire Hooks.
6) Put into Practice!
Steps 1-5 are “play” for Mommy. I didn’t have to spend the time decorating like I did. But, Sweet Pea and I enjoyed making them together. The final step is the most important and the reason for creating the Family Command Center in the first place!
To begin, have a family meeting to explain the purpose and how to use the boards. (Make sure Daddy understands and agrees!) Then practice. Step by step go through the process of using the board. Start with a few magnets and add as the child matures. With time, help the child less and less with the process.
For Bubs we ended up adding the titles “To Do” and “Done” at the top of his cart. Then we drew a line down the center of the chart so he could move the magnets between the sides. This made the concept even more visual.
Bubs wakes up each morning and grabs his board. Because it is small and portable, he carries it around with him as he goes through the visual schedule. When a task is completed, he moves the button to the other side. This makes it easy to see what has or has not been completed. When he has completed the tasks that he can do at the moment, the board goes back on the wall. And because the Command Center is centrally located, I can quickly glance to see what each person needs to do.
And there you have it! A simple, inexpensive, and hands-on visual schedule.
Next: How to Create a Schedule for Your Family