Here’s a situation that shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine:

Your child comes up to you asking for the permission form that you were supposed to sign. First, you have a blank look on your face.

“Permission slip? I don’t remember a permission slip.”

Then, awareness slowly downs of a form thrust in your face as your child unpacked her backpack after school one day. Where could it be?

You frantically thumb through stacks of seemingly identical papers in piles in different places in the house. Eventually, you stumble upon it, sign it, and place it your kid’s backpack (where she forgets to turn it in and you get a call from the school).

If your family is anything like ours, you’re struggling to keep track of lots of different bits of information that come from school and all of the activities that your kids are involved in. Plus, you’re trying to build some independence so that your kids learn their routines and build some habits.

Both of these can be a tall order unless you start thinking about how you organize the information in your life. In my professional life, we often talk about the dashboards for the various data systems so that staff can have information at their fingerprints. But, we never think about creating dashboards for our homes and families.

Enter the family command post. There are a lot of ways that you can set one up and if you search on Pinterest, you will find tons of examples. The simplest place (and probably most convenient) is to use your fridge.

But, wait, you say, isn’t the fridge for the kids’ artwork? It can be, but it’s a large magnetic surface in the most important room of your house, the kitchen, which often has little open wall space.

Here’s what you need to put together your command center:

Magnetic clips

Labels and label maker

Print labels on the label maker to help organize the information. We use the following categories:

Each kid’s name – we hang their chore charts here.

Parents – anything that we need to see, review, or sign gets clipped here when they get home. Our job is to keep it empty.

Calendars – while most of our calendaring is on a Google calendar, it’s helpful to have the school or activity calendars printed out and accessible.

Menu – each week, we print out what the menu plan for the week is to stop the constant question of what’s for dinner. Our readers read it to our non-readers.

Getting ready – a quick checklist of what they need in their bags to be ready for school (or camp).

It’s a pretty simple system that keeps us organized and prevents those pesky permission slips from wandering off.

Curious about what we did with the artwork? Check this out.

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