Can Lean Six Sigma Help You Become a Better Parent?

Can Lean Six Sigma Help You Become a Better Parent?

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Parents face one of the most complicated challenges of them all. Business might have the intricacies of high finance and political intrigue. But that’s nothing compared to raising a human being without losing your mind.

Can Lean Six Sigma provide support in this most challenging of all endeavors?

Lean Six Sigma works with organizations because the methodology focuses on reducing waste and improving processes. Running a household and raising kids is also a process. And it’s one that – if you’re like most of us – likely needs some improving.

How to Raise Kids

How can Lean Six Sigma help? Well, a Life Hack offered by Lean Six Sigma expert Elisabeth Swan exudes confidence in the title, which is simply: “How to Raise Kids.” Finally! The answer has arrived.

And maybe it actually has. Swan offers a series of Lean visual routines that have helped make parenting easier for those who have given them a try. These visual cues are great for both kids and co-workers – the human eye processes visual information faster than it does written words.

Here are a couple concepts Swan mentions. They are good to keep in mind when improving kid-raising processes through the lens of Lean process improvement.

Make It “Customer” Focused

Lean focuses on seeing through the eyes of the customer and then focusing on making processes that result in the best product possible for them. The same applies to parenting. The kids are the customers. You want to provide them the best parenting possible. Seeing things through the eyes of the kids can help you make beneficial changes.

A simple example of this is putting something visually distracting for babies to stare at as you change a diaper – this cuts down on the wriggling and rolling around that can lead to messy, you-will-unfortunately-never-forget-it disasters.

One Piece Flow

Make use of the concepts behind One Piece Flow. An example of this is the diaper bag or, when the kids get a little older, the “go bag.” Or, whatever you call the bag you tote around whenever you go someplace with your child.

It’s something that must be packed almost every day for school or outings. It’s also one of the major bottlenecks in any household operation. Rather than pulling the bag out of the closet at the last second and quickly packing it – a process that all-but-guarantees something will be forgotten – instead, keep the bag by the door and pack it with one thing at the time over a longer period of time. The bag sitting out by the door provides a visual cue that can help you keep it packed.

That’s good stuff. But it gets even better when you start getting into 5S.

The Powerful Simplicity of 5S

5S is the backbone of Lean implementation in a business. Putting it to use at home can smooth out the wrinkles in your daily routines – or create routines if you don’t yet have any.

The elements of 5S are:

  • Sort – Make each area orderly and (very important!) throw out what is not needed
  • Straighten – Make everything accessible
  • Shine – Clean everything thoroughly and keep them orderly
  • Standardize – Make all the above part of a routine
  • Sustain – Maintain a high standard for order and cleanliness

You can read here how this list can apply to household chores, from doing the laundry to taking out the garbage. In all cases, efficient routine is your friend.

Kids and 5S

But what about kids? One of the biggest issues in any house with children is the state of their  room, if the word “state” even applies. Typically, the term “disaster area” is more applicable.

Here are some ways you could use the 5S tool to make the kids’ rooms livable once again (or for the first time!).

Sort – Get boxes with pictures of what should go into them (toys, school supplies, journals, etc.). Then help the kids sort their stuff and put them into the corresponding bin. Discuss how you can now see the floor.

Straighten – Put the most used items in a box clearly marked as the box of favorites and make this easily accessible to the child.

Shine – Teach kids how to use a cloth to wipe down surfaces. When they’re old enough, teach them to vacuum.

Standardize – Make putting away items in the correct bins part of their end-of-the-day routine. Make cleaning a weekly activity, done at the same time every week.

Sustain – Reward the kids for meeting these routine goals. This can help motivate them to continue doing them and maintain a high standard.

Putting the 5 Whys into Action

The Five Whys are another simple, powerful weapon in the Lean process improvement arsenal. And a child-like determination to ask “why” until you get to the bottom of things serves adults well when they use the Five Whys to find the root causes of operational hiccups.

The goal of the Five Whys tool is to ask questions until you reach the root cause of an issue, rather than just dealing with the symptoms of the problem. The Five Whys can solve all manner of problems, from not having coffee in the morning to keeping process improvement projects from taking longer than they should.

It works with kids, too. By asking ‘why’ questions, you can get to the root cause of why something isn’t being done. For example: Why isn’t Jimmy doing his homework at night?

Here’s how the Five Whys could work with that question.

Why 1 – Why isn’t Jimmy doing his homework at night?

He forgets to do it.

Why 2 – Why does he forget?

Because he has chores to do every night such as helping clear the dinner table, taking out the garbage, feeding the dogs and taking a shower.

Why 3 – Why do those four things take all night?

They don’t. Jimmy also makes sure to get in some video game playing time.

Why 4 – Why does Jimmy play video games on week nights?

It’s his only time for relaxation during his day. 

Why 5 – Why is that the only relaxation time Jimmy has?

Because Jimmy is over-scheduled with days that start with getting up early to catch the bus and includes school, after-school practices, and all the chores when he gets home.

The root cause is not that Jimmy is avoiding homework, it’s that he’s over-scheduled. By the time he needs to do homework at night, all he wants to do is play video games and relax. The solution is to better schedule Jimmy’s day – which may include eliminating a chore or two at night, or maybe limiting his after-school activities.

It may also require eliminating or limiting video games on week nights – although you want to make sure he has some “down time” every day, too. Such over-scheduling is a common issue, especially with teenagers.

Whatever they unearth, the persistent quality of the Five Whys can help kids – and adults – develop better routines.

These are just a few of many ways Lean Six Sigma can work with kids. When it comes to the challenges of raising a child, a bit of organization and routine can do wonders.

The post Can Lean Six Sigma Help You Become a Better Parent? appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: March 29, 2019, 2:05 pm

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