This past week I was asked by a current client of mine to help get her relatively new blended family better organized around the house. Anyone who has a blended family knows how difficult this can be.
So I put on my "Super Nanny" hat and went to her home and conducted a family meeting to get everyone involved and provide the parents with some guideline to use in setting up a Weekly Responsibility Chart, not only for their five children but the parents as well. We discussed how to create a Reward Chart so the children would be able to see on a weekly basis how they are progressing towards their rewards. We decided that both charts would be prominently displayed in a corner of their kitchen. The goal here is to create an atmosphere where the entire family functions as a unit.
The parents will now get together with each child one-on-one and together they will discuss which chores they will be responsible for on a weekly basis and how the reward system will work. The parents will also have their responsibilities listed on the chart. It is important for the children to see that the parents have responsibilities as well and what they are.
While there are thousands of tips that families can use to get and stay organized, here are some Quick Tips for A Better Space that any family can use to get started on the right path:
1. Hold Family Meetings
One of the best ways to keep the communication flowing with your immediate family members is to hold weekly family meetings. Set aside one day each week to sit around the table with everyone to discuss upcoming plans, fill in the family calendar, review upcoming family vacations, decide on weekly meals, address school issues, etc. Make this mandatory, even if your kids sigh at the thought. Keep it positive. Try to keep the meeting under 30 minutes.
2. Give Everyone Things To Do
The household chores and errands should never fall on one single household member's shoulders. Most often they fall on Mom. Make a list of everything that needs to be done each week. Then assign tasks among all of the family members. And remember, even toddlers can help in one way or another. The responsibilities assigned should be age appropriate. It's best to teach family responsibilities from a young age.
3. Get On The Same Page With Your Spouse
Children need consistency. If you're always telling your kids to pick up after themselves, and your spouse lets things slide and either picks up after the kids or doesn’t even pick up after themselves, then your kids are going to get mixed messages. When husbands and wives make rules that they both agree upon, then the kids must adhere to them also. You will find that there will be much less resistance and frustration this way.
4. Make It Rewarding
If there's never a reward for doing something, what's the fun in that? Some families give kids allowances for doing their chores. Other families clean and organize together and then celebrate with a pizza party or a movie when everything is complete.
Younger children are generally thrilled to build up "stars" or "stickers" for jobs well done. They can then turn them in for prizes, like helping Mom bake cookies or going to the park with Dad. Older children tend to work better with either an allowance or the promise to be able to do something special. It’s best to build up towards the reward as opposed to taking away from the reward. Remember, keep it positive!
Working consistently to keep the family unit working well together takes some effort but the rewards for everyone involved are so rewarding.
So, besides decluttering and organizing the physical space in your home, I can help you organize the entire family to function better as a unit when it comes to household management.
For more information and assistance on this topic or any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and make your place A Better Space.