Managing your family with photos

clock1It is important to have good communication skills with everyone, particularly, your family.  Photos help to show a story and not just tell it – smartphone heaven!    I don’t need to yell at my children constantly, although they may say that I do. Yelling to them from another room just to communicate is annoying and time consuming when they are scattered about. Now that my four children are all old enough to “need” phones, I can text them instead.

When dinner is ready, it is not necessary for me to yell upstairs to two of them, into the basement for another one and hunt for the fourth one for several minutes before I realize he is asleep on the couch in the den. Even my husband could be out in the yard or in the shed, not really in easy earshot. Dinner could be cold by the time I find them all.  Even if I yell, they don’t hear me because they have headphones in!

Photo Communication Opportunities:

  • Photo of socks flung on the floor, often from multiple days and owners. Text a pic to the guilty children.
  • Plate of cookies, brownies or grilled cheese sandwiches that are now ready to eat.
  • Several photos of someone’s bedroom that is looking awfully messy at the moment. These are particularly useful if one of your children wants to go out with friends or needs a ride somewhere. I remind my teenage son that his room needs to be clean before he leaves the house; he forgets. When he texts to ask for a ride somewhere, I text back the photo of his laundry piled up on his bed. No yelling necessary.
  • When they ask repeatedly, when will dinner be ready?: Text a photo of food in the oven and another of how many minutes left on the oven timer.
    Remind kids with photos
    Group text: Who forgot to put their bike away?
  • Not long ago, my son and I were in Philadelphia for an overnight trip. We were bringing home hand rolled doughnuts from Beiler’s at Reading Terminal Market. We sent several photos of all the flavors to take orders. No one could complain that they didn’t get what they wanted! If you are in Philly and like food, a visit to the market is time 
    well spent.
  • While trying to solve a home mystery of who forgot to clean a mess or broke something, I text out the photo to all of them. They are very quick to tattle on their siblings, even as teenagers!
  • I often leave a TTD list, Things To Do on the kitchen table for my children. They often claim they “didn’t see it”, I happily text it to them!
  • I can send my kids screen shots of their report cards and progress reports. This is available online before the real ones arrive in the mail.
    Let the kids know the cookies are ready.
    Let the kids know the cookies are ready.
  • When giving directions, I send screen shots of the maps. Grandma is now mastering her Google map skills. When she visits, she always asks for “the best way” to get to her friends house or a new restaurant. Google maps to the rescue and Siri goes along as a companion!
  • I send my daughter photos of crafts or recipes I think we should make.
  • When I go to the store, I sometimes take a photo of exactly what I need. There are so many light bulbs and its really annoying when you bring home a different wattage or shade of color. I take a photo of the box so I’m sure to get exactly what I need.
  • I have done some shopping via photos. I’m I’m at the store and for one reason or another I don’t have all my kids with me (often my preference). If someone needs a particular item, like a hoodie, I can send them pics and they can pick out the color they want.
  • Ive been admiring a perennial planting at a nearby landscaping company. After two years, I finally took a photo and asked someone inside to tell me all of the plant names. I brought the same photo to my garden center to buy the items and was sure to get the same varieties because I could show them the photo.
    It's your turn to take out the recycling!
    It’s your turn to take out the recycling!

** while trying to remember more examples of photo communication, I simply scrolled through my phone for real life instances. Now that I have started this photo-talking, there is no going back. I love to speak with photos.

By the way, this may sound like I’m doing all the cooking and no one helps. Often, this is the case, because I prefer to have the kitchen to myself and I kick them out. When I need help I do ask/make them help.  If someone needs help with homework, they do it in the kitchen so I can make dinner and answer math questions at the same time. Another custom in our home is that if I do all the cooking, everyone else cleans.  If they don’t have too much homework or sports, I enforce the rule.

Please share your photo communication stories in a comment!

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