A white board is a great memory tool to have handy in your home.

Lists and reminders are easy to write and erase.

Living in North America can be really stressful due to the fast-paced lifestyle we have to adopt. In a family with children, parents have to remember so many things like checking homework, assigning household chores , schedules of extra-curricular activities, shopping lists,  and many more.

Have you ever experienced forgetting to buy the birthday present for your daughter’s best friend or to guiltily send back a signed field trip form that was due yesterday? What about feeling frustrated because    the do-it-yourself project your well-meaning spouse promised to finish in the spring is not yet done? Did you find out too late that the super once-a-year sale you were eyeing already came and went?

Whether employed at a full-time job outside the home or responsible for the big task of holding down the home front, moms and dads find themselves trying to cope with the need to communicate information within their family unit and needing constant reminders  for everything.  Sometimes verbal reminders are not enough especially when it involves chores and homework! Sticky notes or shopping lists sometimes help to remind us but they do get misplaced.  How do we create a constant reminder without being a nag?

I stumbled upon a helpful solution one day. Our youngest daughter had outgrown her easel board and I had temporarily stashed it in the kitchen .The standing easel had a whiteboard on one side and a blackboard on the other. Initially, I decide to use it to write down the menu I was preparing for an upcoming party we were having. Our friends were entertained to see what the menu was, as it was just like in a restaurant.  After that, I listed the activities we were looking forward to do for that week. Then, later I added a list of things each child had to pack for an upcoming trip. Eventually, I had a “To Do” section with the name of the person responsible for the job. When it was done, they had a choice to erase the chore or cross it out.

Here are some of the things we have put on the whiteboard:

Family activities. During school breaks and summer vacation, the children often ask what are our activities and/or if we are going anywhere. Now they can take a quick look on the board to see if there is anything planned. They are also free to add their own activities, for example: picture-taking day, pizza day, field trips, volunteer day, special t.v. shows, etc.

List of Chores/ “To Do” List. Everyone’s favourite activity to forget, the list tells the tale who is assigned to do a certain task. Now each person knows what is assigned to the other person.  This eliminates the comment like:  “If I’m doing this, what are they doing?” I try to be flexible and allow them to finish their chores within a certain date and just peek at the board to see if it was crossed out. Even us parents have chores and can reduce nagging each other to get something fixed. . Be sure to add fun stuff to your “To Do” list too. I added “read a book” and “gardening” to my list. We still need a reminder to relax and do things we enjoy, not only work.

Packing list. We often take small road trips and I used to pack clothes for everyone. Now when we go on vacation, each person prepares their own clothes according to the suggested guideline. I confess that I still check what they selected but I have reduced my extra task of gathering stuff for everyone.

Appointments and deadlines. Even in this age of advanced technology, a quick look at the board reminds me of the dental appointment faster than my husband can find his eye glasses to read the schedule planner on his phone. (Finding lost eyeglasses is one thing this chart cannot do!)

Homework tracking chart. Instead of constantly asking our daughter how many units she finished for each subject she has in school, I made a small chart for her to update and for us to see the progress made.  A verbal reminder is still needed occasionally but this beats nagging for an answer and lessens the eyeball rolling exercise.

Celebrating Successes. Birthday announcements and special occasions give us something to look forward to. It also gives hints not to forget Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries and holidays. One Christmas, we wrote down our wish list for our kris kringle/exchange gift so we got something we liked.

Shopping lists. We still put our grocery list on a piece of paper but sometimes add some items on the board to put on the paper list. The board is always handy while finding a pen to write with is always a problem. Get white board markers with magnets so it is always handy when you need to write.

Meal suggestions. When the children are getting tired of eating the same thing for school lunch or dinners, we sometimes ask them to write down meals they might want to have. It’s better than finding uneaten lunches getting mouldy in the backpack like a science experiment!  

Funny sketches and doodles.  Sometimes we get a laugh out of the doodles and sketches we make on the board. Subtle ways of teasing each other, all in good fun!

Positioning the white board in our kitchen (near the fridge) was a good idea as everyone cannot miss it. If you decide to try having a whiteboard or blackboard yourself, make sure it is where everyone has access to it and that the whiteboard marker/chalk and eraser are always handy and available. Now, I can refer our family members to check the board if they want to know our plans or what to bring. It sure beats nagging or being nagged any day.

Finish writing article --- check!