Mom’s Command Central is your nerve center as a family manager for managing schedules, paperwork, planning, and bill paying. Many family managers can do all of these activities in one spot. Others need to work with limited space in their homes. During school time, having a Command Central becomes even more vital.
Having a central area for our family calendar, school bins, homework supplies, and backpacks and lunch boxes keeps my stress at a minimum. My husband and kids know where to find what they need. I know I don’t need to search all of the house for a permission slip for a school trip, or the current school lunch schedule.
Where to Put Your Command Central
Ideally, you can set aside a dedicated area for your command central. Usually, a spot in the kitchen can serve as your command central for backpacks, lunch boxes, a monthly calendar and your system for dealing with paperwork from school.
It’s perfectly fine to create a command central that is spread out a bit as long as it works for you. If you can keep each of the tools close to each other even if they’re in other rooms, you should be fine.
Our Command Central is split between the kitchen and the dining room. We store the lunch boxes and back packs by the back door. The kids know to empty their back packs into the homework bins in the dining room where I can go through the papers and decide what to do with them. The monthly wall calendar hangs on the wall in the kitchen near the entrance to the dining room.
Command Central Tools for School Time
Every family needs one shared calendar. For us, the shared calendar is a blank wall calendar I pick up at Staples in June to start the new year on July 1. I write everything in pencil in case our plans change. The calendar hangs in the kitchen next to my home planning area and near the homework bins in the dining room.
Other families use a wipe-off calendar – weekly or monthly. Some families are completely electronic using calendar software such as Google and Cozi. Electronic calendars work well for families with teenagers who have smart phones. You can set up automatic reminders to go to your teen’s phones.
Paper Bin for each child
Papers come home almost every day from school. You need a way to manage the papers for mult iple children – when the papers arrive, acting on the papers, and sending the papers back to school or recycling them.
I have a paper tray system from Staples set up in our dining room (where we do homework). When my kids get home, they put their binders and communication envelopes in their personal bin. The homework assignment sheet for the younger kids stays in this bin, too.
While the kids eat their snack, I review the binders and communication envelopes. Any papers needing a signature or a check go on my office chair to be taken care of that night. Reminders for future events get filed in my tickler file system. Papers coming home from school to stay also go in the tickler file.
After dinner, I sit down and take care of the papers that need to go back to school. Even if the due date is a week or so in the future, I take care of the paper immediately. If I need a reminder for an event like a field trip, I copy the paper and put it in the tickler files, and make a note on our family calendar. I put all the returning papers back in my children’s binders for the next day.
I have a file crate from Staples set up in my office with hanging files for each month of the year. Inside the hanging files are file folders labeled with the weeks. I keep school work, invitations, event flyers, birthday and anniversary cards, the monthly school calendar, and pretty much anything else time-sensitive which isn’t a bill. I put my file crate together based on the system outlined by Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight.
Paper and Office Supplies
If you need to use certain office supplies on a regular basis like stamps and envelopes, keep a supply in your Command Central. I keep a supply of notebook paper, recycled envelopes, and regular envelopes for writing sick notes, sending in permissions slips and sending in money.