Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kids Command Center

Since moving into our new house, one of the things I knew I needed to create was a command center for the kids. My oldest thrives on a structured routine with lots of positive reinforcements. If I don't have a space to organize all of that it becomes much harder for me to create that kind of environment for him. We use this space for behavior charts, chores, a weekly calendar, other school calendars, the kids art work, and also a space for the boys to "cool off". The space it mostly used for Hudson, who is five, but as Max and Piper get older we can incorporate more for them as well. You can find more details about the space and how I created it below.

The main space is filled by this large whiteboard from Ikea. The white hanging buckets are also from ikea, I just cut chalkboard labels using my silhouette machine to place on each one. 

We currently fill the whiteboard with one side for each of our boys. There is a section for chores, star charts, encouraging words, and also for consequences. The whiteboard works great for us because my kids do well when we change things up. If we use a certain chart or discipline for too long it will no longer be effective. On my son's star chart we write about 4-5 things that he can work towards earning stars for throughout the week. We will often give him something to look forward to on the weekend for earning so many stars. For example: a pizza and movie night, staying up late, date with mommy or daddy, ect. My other son is a little young for a whole chart so we offer him stars for different things throughout the week and he loves it. 
I also created a space for consequences. I don't know about you, but sometimes on the really tough weeks I start to lose track of what consequences I have given to the boys. Also this helps to keep my Husband and I on the same page. We will often say "lets go look at the board" before making decisions, so we can see what's been put on the board. 
I also offer my oldest son an allowance on friday for his chores throughout the week. This makes it easy to count his check marks and give him the money he has earned. 

I created a weekly calendar by cutting labels using Chalkboard Vinyl and my silhouette machine. I also cut the days of the week letters on green vinyl. My son loves to see his week written out, it gives him an awareness of what is coming up during the week. Even if there is something your child is not looking forward to, allowing them to see it on a calendar might help prepare them for the event. Hudson also loves being able to see fun events that he is looking forward to on the calendar.
I also use the space next to the chalkboard calendar to hang other school calendars, lunch schedules, potty charts, ect. I used colorful and fun washi tape to hang these. It looks cute and peels off the wall easily. 

 This white file holder is also from Ikea and I labeled each one with the kids names using my silhouette machine again. These are great for holding the kids school work, art work, or any other papers that need an organized place instead of piling up on the kitchen counter! 

Above the whiteboard I used an Ikea curtain hanger to clip the kids art work and some pictures. I also added these fun felt balls to make the space more colorful.

I also created what we call a "time in" or quiet time space. Instead of always sending the boys to a "time out", there are times when I feel they need what we call a "time in". It is a time where they are sent to the stool to choose an activity to do in the basket. This can be a time for them to "cool off" or to focus on a puzzle or book to help change their attitude and behavior. Often times I can see when Hudson would benefit from a "time in" before his behavior even becomes out of control or inappropriate. Like I said, he thrives in a structured environment, so this is a great way to give him a task or activity that will improve his behavior. It is also much easier for me in the moment to send him to a "time in" than to have to come up with something on the spot to keep him busy. It is a good idea to change up what activities you offer in the basket. We also have a "time in" folder that I fill with different work sheets and coloring pages.
Here are some ideas to fill your "time in" or quiet time basket with: 

-Books to read or look at
-Favorite stuffed animal or blanket to cuddle
-Cookie sheet with alphabet magnets
-Folder with worksheets or coloring pages

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