You run a tight ship at the office and frequently oversee improvement strategies across the board – how have you ever considered using those same quality management principles when it comes to parenting? While it doesn’t mean you have to get too serious about goal setting and objectives, taking a more strategic approach to the often chaotic world of parenting can go a long way in getting a bit of order in place. As an added benefit, you may well find that such a process allows for a fun bonding session too.
Do Your Kids Need a Quality Management System?
If your household is anything like most people, then yes – your kids can most definitely benefit from some sort of basic quality management system. It goes without saying that life should not be too full of goals, measurables and rules. Being a kid is the one time in life that you are truly able to let loose and go a bit wild after all. But if you stop to think about it, there are many aspects of quality management that are already being addressed in your home on a way smaller level than the corporate strategy. Most kids have basic responsibilities – usually, to eat their food, keep their rooms clean and do their homework. Within these responsibilities are a number of smaller tasks, such as packing away toys before bed, eating those vegetables that no-one likes and sticking to a homework roster. Now for those responsibilities, imagine a mini QMS that helps kids reach these goals. Perhaps it would include the following:
- Document control – a simple star chart makes the ideal way to document progress. If tasks are not done, then Corrective Action or Preventative Action (CAPA) becomes required. Perhaps this means no movie before bed, or maybe it means spending more time to clean room properly. This visual process makes it easier for kids (and you) to see how goals are met.
- Competency training – it’s a big word of course, and in this case, it involves the simple process of understanding responsibilities as well as the root causes of each responsibility. For instance, it is one thing to know that rooms need to be clean. But do kids know why rooms need to be clean? Losing toys, attracting bugs, making more work for mom are just some motivation factors.
- Complaints management – then there is the complaints side of things, which parents happen to get a lot. Parents need to know which complaints are valid, and which are not. In some cases, sibling squabbles may lead to false complaints or the need for CAPA. In other cases, listening to the needs of your youngest stakeholders helps keep everyone on the same page.
- Corrective Action – on the topic of CAPA, this is a doozy that is not always easy to get around. Non-conformance is something that every parent deals with from an early age – taking a fair approach to such actions is essential of course. Much like you would treat every non-conformance in the workplace with due investigation, thought and care, so should you treat your little ones’ slip-ups. Correcting a problem is the most effective solution along with training, to help clear out the root causes of issues.
- Audit management – every parent is an auditor. Have you cleaned your bedroom? Did you finish your homework? Is your bed made? These questions are so routine that most parents barely think before asking. By linking your audits to your star chart checklist, it becomes easier to keep track all around.
- Reporting – and here we are back to the trusted star chart, which is the best reporting tool of all. Showing kids how well they are doing is a great motivator, while having visual ‘proof’ of a slightly less rewarding week is also useful for preventing further lapses. In this way, you both have a visible chart to show improvement and progress.
Of course, no matter how good your intensions, most parents would agree that it is far easier to manage a large scale corporate strategy than oversee a quality management system for kids… but it is still worth a try anyway.