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How to Make a Family Command Center

How to Make a Family Command Center

How to Make a Family Command Center

When we moved into our house about a year and a half ago, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was figure out how to make a family command center that worked for our family. The 2 older kids were starting school, participating in sports, and making new friends to schedule playdates with each day. All of our scheduled plans and obligations were beginning to pile up, and it became clear that we needed something the whole family could use to stay up to date on where we needed to go.

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I knew we needed 3 things in our family command center:

1: A large calendar.

2. A to do/done bin for papers.

3. A Clock and Decor.

Step One: A Calender

You know what they say; Go big or go home. We went big for our calendar. I did not want a dinky little thing that no one could read or write on. I wanted lots of room for info and for it to be clean and simple.

How to Make a Family Command Center

I knew you could print large scale prints at Staples for insanely cheap, so I started there to see how big I could go. At Staples, you can print Engineering Prints for dirt cheap! I decided on the 24″ x 36″ size for the wall we would use and I went with gray scale, too. I picked it up in-store all for under $4.00! So inexpensive!

Amazon is always my go-to to find what I need, keeping the cost down for that size frame was a priority. There were so many to choose from, I picked a black frame and plexiglass cover to help keep the cost down. If you can spring for a glass front, that would work even better! I find the plexiglass to bend just a bit too much while writing. It works, but glass would be a bit smoother. {Something like this is similar to what I purchased}

FREE PRINTABLE!

Once I knew the size I wanted, I created my print. I used Adobe Illustrator for mine and made it big enough that it prints clearly on 24″ x 36″ paper. Click on the picture below to download! You can save the file to your computer and upload it directly to Staples for a large scale print!

Family Calendar Preview

Once you’ve picked up your print and tested it out in your frame, you’re good to go! I write directly onto the plexiglass with these markers. Sometimes, I stick with black, but I’ll switch up the colors occasionally, depending on my mood, and the month. They don’t smudge like dry erase. You have to use a wet cloth to wipe them off, but I like that better!

You’re ready to hang your calendar!

My Super Secret Calendar Hanging Trick

This is a large scale frame that I tend to take on and off the wall a lot. I wanted it to be level all the time and be as secure as possible for writing directly onto it. These picture hangers make everything so much easier! They are called French pleats in the woodworking world. I used a large metal one similar to these, and I love it! It makes taking it on and off the wall simple, and I don’t have to worry about it being level every month when I update it.

STEP TWO:

With school in full swing, I knew I needed a to-do bin and a done bin in the family command center. I wanted them to be hanging on the wall to get them up off of the desk space below. This bin is something I found at Target, but you can find similar bins just about anywhere!

How to Make a Family Command Center

I used inexpensive clipboards I found at Dollar Tree to keep things together so I can easily pull them out. It’s worked really well so far. We keep our filing in the basement, so the done bin is often more overflowing than the to-do. School papers and documents are always stacking up and I wanted to make sure they weren’t on the desk. Now, they are up off the desk and I love that!

STEP THREE: CLOCK AND DECOR

Nothing is more frustrating to me than to get my times mixed up when planning family events. I do it often and every time I kick myself. For the decor, I knew I wanted something around the calendar and to-do bin to help it feel more like a gallery wall. The first thing I wanted to include was a clock. Clocks are pretty and functional. There are so many styles you can choose from to create the look you’re going for in your own family command center.

I liked the wood look of this one to offset the metal going on with the bins. Again, I found this one on Amazon (they have everything!) Here is a similar one: Foxtop 12 inch Silent Non-Ticking Wall Clock Vintage Wood-Grain Plastic Quartz Wall Clock Mute Quiet Sweep Country Style (Dark-Brown)

How to Make a Family Command Center

For the rest of the decor. I wanted to fill in with things that encourage myself and my family. The small canvas was actually done by a friend from church. She’s so talented and just happened to have a few of these pre-made. I love the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” and the colors worked perfectly! It’s hard to tell in the picture, but she used gold paint for the letters which look fantastic with the metal bins. Having these words right next to our calendar help me to remember in the chaos that He’s there in it all. No matter what we have planned for the day or month, or how crazy I feel trying to keep up, He is constant.

Last, I made a few arrows using scrap wood we had lying around. When I made them, I was inspired by my 3 kiddo’s distinct personalities. Each arrow is different and represents them in their own way. I’ll have to add a 4th one after Asher comes! I hung them all together using twine, I love the way they turned out.

HANG IT UP!

Now you can complete your family command center! I started with the biggest item, the calendar, and made sure the bins were reachable for ease of use. Functionality came first and I went from there. Then, I played around with the spacing and placement, but with the size of the wall and the large scale pieces, I didn’t have a whole lot of wiggle room. I love how it turned out!

I’d love to hear from you! What’s does your family include in a command center?

How to Make a family command center

How to Cut Screen Time with No Whining

How to Cut Screen Time with No Whining! makethemostofitblog.com

How to Cut Screen Time with No Whining!

How We Dramatically Cut Our Screen Time This Summer

When my husband and I started having kids, we weren’t concerned with how to cut screen time. Our oldest son knew how to swipe my smartphone as a one-year-old. We always had the TV on as background noise if we were in the house, playing. My husband and I both played video games in our spare time. Our kids picked up on it, and we didn’t see a problem with how our kids were handling their screen time…at first.

Eli, our oldest, especially loves video games. Have you read The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively?(Affiliate Link) We love that book and try to use it to spend quality time with our kids. If you ask Eli what his “love language” is, he’ll tell you it’s “time spent playing video games together”. Spoiler alert, that’s not technically one of the 5 love languages! Video Games did help him learn to read quickly (hello motivation) and it was great one on one time with dad. There were a lot of positives about screen time that really had us pushing off the idea of limiting screen time at first.

Our second child, Olive, really has no attachment to screen time. She would choose to play barbies with a friend over watching a show and will craft for hours on end.

The funny thing is, we gave them the same exposure to screen time growing up, they just simply have different personalities. One is drawn to the screen and will spend all day on them if given the chance, and one will flutter on and off them with not a care in the world when they are turned off.

We Came to a Breaking Point

At first, we tried limiting the screen time to certain hours. The kids could wake up and use the screens until 10am (they usually woke up at 7). The screens were off limits until 4pm, then they were free to use the screens until bedtime (at 7:30pm).

That’s 6+ hours of available screen time! Our daughter almost never used it up, but our son would be on THE ENTIRE TIME. In fact, he would count down the minutes until that 4pm screen time, not doing anything except staring at the clock. He would wake up early to get more screen time in! We came to our breaking point and decided there needed to be a change; it was time to cut screen time.

How to Cut Screen Time with No Whining baby
We got a laugh out of this photo my husband took of our third son “playing” with his big brother.

Our New Plan to Cut Screen Time

We headed into the Summer of 2017 with a new plan!

1. The kids are allowed 1 hour of free screen time, no matter what. We think screen time can be important in moderation. Our kids need to decompress and have alone time, and screen time is helpful for them in that way some days. We decided as parents, we would not take away this hour no matter what.

2. If they complete a set of tasks, they can earn 1 hour of EXTRA screen time. We ask them to read, play outside, be creative, and help out around the house.

3. They CAN lose their earned screen time if they are not respectful and kind.

4. They manage their own timer. We use this timer, and it’s kept on the fridge. I love that both of their timers are in the same place, so they don’t get lost as easily. (Picture is Affiliate Link)

If they don’t manage it well, they will lose their earned screen time. Obviously, this is only if your kids are old enough to manage it themselves. But even if you have littles, they should still be responsible for listening for the end signal and turning off the beep!

How to cut screen time Free Printable

Success! How You Can Get the Free Printable

So far it has been an amazing transformation! We went from 6+ hours of screen time to 2 hours at most. Eli doesn’t even try to earn his extra hour some days, and he no longer stares at the clock waiting for his screen time to come back. Olive has also benefited by learning more about time management and cleaning up after herself. I’m so happy they are both closer to having a better relationship with the screens, and have benefited in countless ways with all of their extra time! They both learned to ride their bikes without training wheels within the first week of our new plan, they’ve been more imaginative, creative, and responsible. I’m not complaining about the extra help around the house, either!

I’d love to send you a free copy of How to Earn Extra Screen Time! I made a colorful version that’s great for laminating or putting in a pretty frame. Also included is a simpler, more printer-friendly version, that could be printed off every day as a checklist, or just to save on printer ink. You get both when you subscribe, to use as best fits your family.

Subscribe to get your free copy!

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