I remember well the multitude of fights that occurred in our household when I was a child because each child believed he or she should be the one to choose the music in the car, or the TV show we watched, or be the first to play with a coveted toy.
I thought about this long and hard when my twins were babies and even more when our third son was born just 15 months later. I came to the realization that we would need a system or our boys would NEVER stop fighting! After a lot of thought and many prayers, we came up with a solution that has worked very well in our family for the past six years. We assign each child his own “day.”
Essentially, this is a constant rotation that begins when a child in our household turns two. On his second birthday, he is added to the rotation. Here’s an example:
Let’s pretend we have four children named A, B, C, & D (in birth order). We choose to start our rotation next Monday. Our rotation would look like this:
Monday: A’s day
Tuesday: B’s day
Wednesday: C’s day
Thursday: D’s day
Friday: A’s day
Saturday: B’s day
Sunday: C’s day
Monday: D’s day
Tuesday: A’s day
Wednesday: B’s day
…(and so forth).
In our family, when it is “your day,” you get to choose the TV shows we watch (parents have ultimate approval, of course); you get to choose what songs we listen to in the car or at home (parents’ approval pending); you can choose the first toy in the playroom; and you are first to play the Kindle. You are also first to take a bath, do your chart, read scriptures, and pray at bedtime.
If a decision needs to be made (for example, what fruit we will eat with our lunch), we consult the child whose day it is. If one of us needs to run to the store or on an errand, we choose that child to go with us for some one-on-one time. Sometimes, we choose two people—so if it happens to be C’s day, we will choose C and D.
This system has prevented a lot of fights in our home. We don’t worry that we are constantly favoring one child over another because we are following this simple system and not choosing someone over someone else. I think it has helped our children to feel equally important and valued in our home (at least I hope so!).
Because we do this daily and maintain the same rotation, we don’t need to write it down. It is very easy to remember! It is also easy to enforce because every child knows and understands that his day will come. It is very common for us to come downstairs in the morning and hear someone turn to the person whose day it is and say, “What do you want to watch?”
There is no bickering or arguing. There are no “You got to pick yesterday!” accusations. In a house with four boys, this tiny victory feels huge. Don’t get me wrong, my boys find plenty of other things to fight about. But, in this one area of our lives, we have a system that works.
I share this with you today in hopes that it may help you and your family as well. Maybe you can take this idea and put a spin on it to make it work in your family, or maybe you have something even better in place. Either way, I’d love to hear about it!
QUESTION: What systems or traditions work for you? Feel free to share in the comments!
CHALLENGE: Counsel with your partner and/or children to address issues that are constant topics of contention. Brainstorm a system to help solve these recurring arguments.
Edited by Briana Heinonen and Nollie Haws.
Image provided by the author; graphics by Anna Jenkins.