About two weeks before school started, I bought a whiteboard and a pack of colourful dry-erase markers.
The last two weeks of summer and the first week of school coincided with a dizzying array of activities, some ending, some beginning, and a tournament looming. Add to that the start of school, a new schoolbus for one child and a new public transportation routine for the other, I anticipated some headaches (mostly for me).
This year, the family will be forced to accept that schedules are a necessary evil in this house because I am sick to death of yelling and repeating commands all day long like some sort of drill sergeant.
The white board has been my saviour!
I’m happy to explain why this works:
The white board is a note to the family for the coming day. It’s like a to-do list, using the same colours as on the printed family calendar on the wall:
- outlines who is doing which chores for the week
- lists recreational activities for each child
- lists random reminders (dog’s meds)
- lists locations of activities (and time if necessary) to assist with chauffeuring (who is available for what activity? how far is said activity?)
- meals (who is home to eat when? do we need portable meals?)
Initially I made the list the night prior, and put it up near the dinner table. We all saw it, we all read it, and the two adults were able to coordinate who will do what driving to where with which kid when.
Sometimes, I have the kids help me write the board. Why not? They’re the ones in all the activities…
They can now determine what they needed to have ready well before we have to GET ready to leave.
Hockey practice after school? Find time to pack your bag at a time that is not 5 minutes before leaving.
Krav Maga at 5:30 pm tomorrow? Make sure you have your binder and equipment ready.
Baseball game at dinner time 40 minutes away? Be sure you know where your bat, helmet and all the rest of it is before we’re leaving, and don’t forget to bring a jacket, it’s fall now.
The point is, I wanted them to be more conscientious of their responsibilities without me reminding them constantly what needs to be done. This is a work in progress, and as a family we have had varying degrees of success and failure practicing this. Ultimately it always falls back on me, leaving me fatigued, frazzled, rushed and anxious, not to mention sick of my own voice.
The board is working for us.
Going forward, the plan will be this:
One kid stands at the family calendar and reads off what’s happening the next day, and the other kid takes the appropriate colour and writes it on the board.
We are keeping the whiteboard.
PS Mom’s voice is still speaking too much, but there’s been improvement. I’m not giving up!