Managing a household and family can feel like a taller task than Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables. It seems like a miracle that everything that needs to be done gets done, and it requires a lot of complaining and threats. If you want a happier household with better communication and greater involvement from each family member, buy a gigantic dry erase board.
Introducing a big dry erase board as a centerpiece for communication and family involvement may be the single greatest investment of your money for these reasons.
1. It will facilitate the completion of household chores
Life before the big board is tough because everyone is scrambling throughout the week without enough time to eat together, let alone coordinate household chores. On the board you can devote a square to the rotation of weekly chores. Kiddos and spouses can check off jobs when they are accomplished, and the board will remind them of their responsibilities so you don’t have to nag them.
As a bonus, you get your children involved in assigning weekly responsibilities so they can experience greater ownership in the household economy.
2. It will ease tension between you and your spouse
All of the little things that we expect our spouses to accomplish via ESP never quite seem to happen, and when they don’t, it strains our relationships. Even the tasks and “honey-dos” that are communicated often happen in passing when we are least likely to remember. So when your wife wants you to take the garbage out, it’s a zillion times more likely to happen if you see a concrete representation of that request on your big board.
More than anything, your spouse wants to feel acknowledged and appreciated. John Gray’s research into men’s and women’s “point systems” show that women place far more importance on the little things than the grand gestures. Cleaning out the drain equals one point. One spectacular gesture of roses and a candlelight dinner equals one whopping point. Keeping on top of small tasks via the big board will help you tend to the little things that your wife loves and appreciates.
If your kids are under reading age, you can even leave fun, sexy messages too. Each member in your family has a different way of perceiving the world. Some are auditory learners while others are visual, so when you have additional methods of communicating you’re more likely to achieve the end result you have in mind.
3. It will enhance appreciation and respect in your family
So many times the things that are asked of a family member go unrecognized or un-praised because people shuffle in and out of the house in their busy lives. When you have a big board, you can leave little messages that show your appreciation for a job well done or a good deed even if that family member isn’t home.
When they come back to the board, they’ll see your note even if you forget to express verbal appreciation, and it makes a difference. Family members who feel appreciated and needed will take ownership in family goals and step up to greater responsibilities with enthusiasm. If you want to prepare your children for taking on greater responsibilities and self sufficiency, the big board is a fun and interactive way to help them take pride in their contributions and responsibilities.
4. The big board will be a unique ritual that gives your family an enhanced sense of identity
When your kids’ friends come over and see this gigantic board by the kitchen with all colors of the rainbow artfully squiggled, your kids will tell them all about how you guys get stuff done with the board, how much fun it is, and why their family needs one.
The big board actually represents something far deeper than what it appears. It represents a willingness to communicate and love each other better. Centering your family around that symbol and weaving your days and weeks in it will enhance the identity of your family.
The ritual of making plans, executing them, and showing appreciation on the big board will be something that uniquely characterizes your family’s love for each other. When your kids grow older, they’ll look back nostalgically on how much the big board meant to them, and how special it was. Then you can get one for the house of your children and grandchildren.
5. The big board will make long-term planning attractive for your children
All the fun and excitement surrounding interactions with the big board will program the idea that teamwork, sacrifice, and long-term planning are really good things. You can get creative with it too. If you feel one youngster has been going above and beyond in helping others and taking on additional responsibilities, you can clip little coupons that are good for one round of putt-putt golf or go carting, or pin tickets to a baseball or basketball game.
Posting physical representations of privileges that your children want to earn, like learning how to drive or going on a vacation to the Bahamas, can be posted on top of the board to help them keep focused on their goals and in keeping up with their responsibilities.
The big board will help instill the lesson that privileges are earned with responsibility, and that the two go hand in hand. Tying those concepts together in a fun family ritual will be most instructive on your children’s future while helping you to accomplish the things that need to get done around the house.
You can call the big board whatever you like, from “The Johnson Family Get’r Done Board” to “The Watson Weekly Report.” Make it yours, make it special, and get the damn board. You won’t regret it.