6 Tips for Managing the Family Calendar

family-calendar-1.jpgToday, Jane (also of see jane blog) shares 6 tips for managing the family calendar:

As the mother of a family of six (4 kids, 2 adults), I juggle a lot of schedules. In addition to my husband and my work, personal, and household commitments, we have one teenager committed to 20 hours/week of dance, one tween who adores tennis, track, soccer, and piano, an 8-year-old who plays baseball and dodgeball year-round, and a 5-year-old who loves dance, art, and frequent play dates. Not to mention the coordination around pickups and drop-offs at three different schools! Here are my top tips for managing the family calendar:
1. Find your system. Everyone will have preferences on the type of system they use (e.g., paper vs. digital). Identify what will work best for you in terms of something you feel comfortable using and also carrying with you constantly!

2. Utilize lists and calendars. To-do lists and calendaring are what keeps our active family functioning like a well-oiled machine. I use Franklin Covey calendar pages (Martha Stewart has a great line of planning tools and I've seen a good selection at Target) and also lots of notes -- sticky notes for daily to-dos and notes on my iPhone for shopping lists/reminders. In order to combine everyone's schedules together, I must be able to see an entire month at a time. So, this is the only area of my life that technology has not taken over completely.

3. Insert appointments immediately. When appointments are made and when notes come home from school, sports teams, etc...insert all of this information into the family calendar immediately to avoid double booking.

4. Err on the side of writing down everything! Truly. For example, if your kids get out of school early every Wednesday, write it down. It's simply easier to have everything written down.

5. Consider your writing tools. Pencil is good for making changes but I don't like using pencil on my calendar because the lead tends to smear. So, I use a pen and when necessary, white-out. I might be one of the only people still buying white-out! (Another alternative is a hybrid system: Christine's husband writes recurring appointments in pen and potentially moveable appointments in pencil.)

6. Get in a rhythm. Check your calendar daily. Each morning. Each evening. The more often, the better! The more you write down and the more you check, the less you have to remember!

What do you think about using a family calendar? What's your favorite? Are you a paper and pen person too? If not, what do you use to keep your household in order?


Image credits: Jane (also of see jane blog)