“Mom! You forgot to send my snack today!”
“Mom! You forgot today was Pajama Day!”
Me: “I’m so sorry!”
I know I’m not the only one.
I’ve talked to friends and read Facebook posts from other moms who admitted that they forget to send their kids with money for the Scholastic book fair, or spaced dressing their kids in pajamas for Pajama Day at school. In the hullabaloo of running a home with multiple children, keeping up with work, living in a house that fails to clean itself, and trying to serve my family meals that don’t come in a box, it’s easy to forget and miss things on occasion. It happens to the best of us, yet I still feel guilty those times it happens.
The good news is that there are some tips you can use to manage the family calendar and hopefully cut back on those missed appointments, sports practices and other events on your long list of obligations. These tips can help you be more efficient and find balance during this busy season of life when days consist of managing activities for you and your family. Plus, there are health benefits of being organized! I know my stress levels are much lower when I feel organized and in control. Take a look at these four ways you can best manage your family calendar.
Use paper AND electronic
I’m one of the 30-somethings who still prefers a paper calendar over using all things digital. Whether you’re old school like me, or rely solely on your smart phone calendar, it’s important to realize it’s best to use BOTH options if you’re searching for ways to keep your home organized. You won’t have that paper calendar with you when you’re not at home, so what happens if you are running errands and need to see what time practice starts? Just the same, your kids can’t access your smart phone to see what is happening, so a paper calendar at home is ideal for them to read.
Select the right calendar location
Choose a paper calendar with a LOT of space and place it in the kitchen, or maybe the place in your home where kids keep their backpacks. Select a spot where every family member can access and reach the calendar, keeping in mind that your kids are likely shorter than you are.
Place a pen and pencil in reach. Consider having some stickers on hand to keep the kids engaged; my kids love adding stickers for people’s birthdays and other special days.
Leave nothing out
Document everything! Birthdays and anniversaries are a given, but what else needs to be on the calendar? Use pencil (in case the time or date changes) to jot down all appointments, remembering to record the time the appointment starts and the initials of the person the appointment is for.
If you have a lot of details related to the appointment, add this information to the electronic version of the calendar. This is the best place to list the who, what, when, where and why.
Keep calendars in sync
If it’s a struggle to keep both calendars in sync, create a routine. Choose one day of the week when the family looks at the paper calendar to see what is happening during the upcoming week. Double check so you’re certain all information is on both the electronic and paper calendars. If anyone has anything to add to the calendar, do it now. Every morning during breakfast, we discuss anything we have to do that evening, such as practice after school or lessons, so our kids (ages five and seven) know all day long what they have going on later in the day.
It’s a challenge to keep all of your commitments straight, even if you are a pretty organized person. Remember that these commitments don’t have to fall solely on your shoulders! Let the family help too. Hopefully these tips will help prevent you from missing another Girl Scout meeting or space on sending snacks to school. However, if you do forget, give yourself some grace.
What tips would you add to better manage the family calendar and stay organized?
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