What is a Family Operating System – and why use one?

The ‘why’ behind Hearth Display’s digital family calendar and project management features

07.27.2021

Hearth Display is built to be the first ever comprehensive family operating system. 

What exactly does that mean, though? An operating system, or "OS," is a technology term defined as “the software that supports a computer's basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals”, or “software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run”. 

In simpler terms, an operating system ensures that hardware and software can speak to each other so that all other tasks needed to be performed can be accomplished. It is the most important software running on any device, as it ensures everything ‘speaks the same language’.

Similarly, family households need a certain code of conduct, or social contract, to ensure that everyone is ‘speaking the same language’ and operations can function normally. Without this foundation, family members can feel like they’re on completely different pages than one another. 

Your family operating system might help create agreement on a few key questions: 

  • How does your family share household responsibilities so that everyone can play their part?
  • What are your family values, and how do you ensure those values are lived out?
  • How does your family set goals, and work together to accomplish them?
  • How does your family communicate with each other?
  • How does your family track progress and share exciting wins along the way?
  • How does your family set aside meaningful time for memorable moments together?

What is Hearth’s Family Operating System? 

Hearth’s Family Operating System was built to help families stay organized, encourage healthy habits and routines, track goals, communicate well, and more. It’s intended to be an all-in-one system so parents aren’t using disaggregated tools that ultimately cause more stress than good (because honestly, who needs another thing they only use once or twice before forgetting about it?!). 

We dream of a world where organization is adopted family-wide, but when we first began dreaming up Hearth, we couldn’t find anything that really helped families do that well. We found family apps that typically only exist on one parent’s phone (and are often forgotten about), or outdated physical items like chalkboards and print outs. 

We set out to create a comprehensive solution to fill these gaps. Here’s a few features that make Hearth stand out – and help keep your ‘family operating system’ on track: 

Display – So it's not 'out of sight, out of mind'

Display – So it’s not ‘out of sight, out of mind’There’s a reason the whiteboard/bulletin board still exists in so many homes today – and it’s not because it’s necessarily beautiful or even entirely functional. It’s because it’s visible. Even with Google Calendar (or iCal, Outlook, etc), apps that track to do lists and more – families still resort to using visual tools in the household so that everyone (especially kids) can be aware of and have access to important information. Hearth’s physical display ensures everyone can see the right reminders at the right time.

Companion App – To organize on the go

Hearth Display was made to provide your home with visual representation and access to your family operating tools at all times, but of course, you aren’t always at home. Take the simplicity of Hearth even when you’re out and about with our companion app. Once you download it onto your device, you can see what is happening within your family at all times, allowing you (or anyone with the app) to stay up-to-date regardless anywhere and everywhere. 

Profiles & Calendars – For everyone, especially kiddos

Build profiles for each family member and seamlessly connect with your current calendar app for ease of scheduling. Everyone is color coordinated so you can easily see who needs to be where and at what time. Your kids can even access their schedule from the touch screen display, so that they can grow in their independence and reduce their anxiety about what to expect next, and you can stop answering the same questions like, “mommy, what time do we leave?” over and over. Profile views are customizable and can be adjusted to a child’s age – so younger children can see more pictorial cues and older children can see more autonomous tasks and responsibilities. Even your dog can have a profile to remind someone to walk and feed him – the world’s your oyster!

Task Management, Rewards, and Lists - 2021’s version of the chore chart and the post-it note shopping list 

Delegation across the family can be tough. When the to-do list is all in your head, sometimes it feels easier to do it yourself instead of taking the time to involve others. Hearth’s software has a built-in task management tool that makes delegation easy with an optional rewards system that you can customize. Oh and of course use them as categorized check-lists or shopping lists for yourself, your partner, your babysitter and extended support system, too!

Routine Builder – a time management and trade-off decision making tool to reduce those morning and bedtime “negotiations”

According to Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, “Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.” Children aren’t born with these skills, it’s something they develop as they grow, and it often starts with learning how to tell time. Hearth’s routine builder is designed to support this growth through a visualization of time and a gamified countdown until bedtime or school. It empowers your kids to make trade-off decisions between the “must-dos” and the things they want to do by giving them control of how they spend their time within the constraints of their schedule. Say goodbye to that daily negotiation over 5-more-minutes of playtime. Our routine builder is the “scaffolding” that helps them practice the necessary skill of time management, and the best part about it is that you can watch your family’s growth and progress over time through tracking, look backs, and goal setting. 

This is just the beginning of what we've dreamed up for Hearth families. We see so many helpful tools and features in our future, and we can't wait for Hearth to arrive in homes in 2022. 

Like what you see? Pre-order your Hearth Display today – we're making a limited quantity in our first production run and they won't last long.