The lazy days of summer may seem to be lingering on, but the back-to-school hurry and scurry waits for no season! It's time to whip your family back into shape and get them running smoothly for the school year ahead. Keeping track of kids schedules can be hectic, especially when you have multiple little people with unique agendas. Fortunately, there are a host of tools to help you figure out how to manage family activities.
All Family Planning Time
The best way to keep track of kid's schedules is to add some family planning time to your routine. Set aside one evening each week to meet together with everyone and synchronize calendars. At your family planning meeting, have a family calendar handy for recording important dates and appointments. Take turns having each person list their important items for the week. Record practices, appointments, due dates, meetings and other important information on the family calendar. Both parents and older kids should have individual calendars as well where they can record the things that are relevant to them. This is also a good time to discuss other family business like chores, vacation plans, or issues that need to be resolved.
Keeping track of kids schedules is a lot easier with the proper tools. The family calendar mentioned above doesn't have to be a paper calendar. Digital calendars and online calendar tools are popular too. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.
- Pros: Inexpensive, easily replaced, and instantly available
- Cons: Not portable, limited writing space, and not "cool" enough to keep some kids' interest
- Pros: Portable, virtually unlimited space, and easily organized and edited
- Cons: Potentially expensive, hard to replace, and sometimes hard to access
- Pros: Impossible to lose, easy to organize and edit, and inexpensive or free
- Cons: Can't be used without internet access, can be challenging for younger kids to use, not "instantly" available
The most important thing is to choose the calendar type that is right for you. Many families find a combination of organization calendars to be the best solution. Each individual can use their preferred method for calendaring, and then the family calendar can be in one easily shared format, usually paper or online.
Most phones, iPods, PDAs and similar devices have calendar functions built right in. This is often the most appealing solution for teens and tweens because it's tech-savvy and cool. Just make sure that they remember to actually enter the information into their cell phone calendar! Most major web-based email services like gmail offer free online calendartools with email accounts. Create a family email address with an attached calendar and share the password with the kids. This way, everyone can access the account and edit the calendar.
While implementing a family schedule may be challenging at first, doing so will ensure that things run smoothly in the future. Once kids see the benefit of keeping track of important information (no more waiting after band practice because you forgot to tell mom about the time change), they'll gladly contribute to your efforts to keep everyone on the same page.