With the beginning of a new school year, it takes time to pull together a new family calendar. One parent usually pulls everything together, and let’s be honest and acknowledge it’s mostly mothers juggling the calendar to make sure everyone gets where they need to be each day. It’s also important to make sure there’s still time for family dinners every (learn why the family dinner is so important).
My boys are grown now but I’ll always remember the challenge of sorting out the family calendar through the first month of each school year. Thankfully the school schedule is pretty stable. It’s the after school activities – soccer, boy scouts, swim practice, Kumon, gymnastics and more, that have to fit into a manageable schedule.
It reminds me of one year when we had a lovely Swedish au pair. I learned that guys aren’t as good at juggling, as women! For several weeks, Peter would tell me what didn’t happen that day and sometimes they missed dinner. About once a week, I’d have him re-write the family calendar to reinforce what needed to happen each day and ultimately he got the hang of it and my boys who were 7 and 11 at the time, didn’t really notice.
Where to Keep the Family Calendar?
One of the big challenges is where to keep the family calendar, especially if your stainless refrigerator is no longer magnetic. The other shift is moving your calendar online and using a tablet to access the calendar from the kitchen or wherever you and your loved ones talk about family member activities.
While I'm aware that Apple will integrate individual family member calendars, I haven't adopted this technology because Apple and Microsoft (my email is Outlook) don't play nicely together. I don't want to get locked into one manufacturer as product leadership can shift (have you bought the same car forever?). And when you have to upgrade software so products can talk to each other … yesterday my iPhone had to be upgraded to fix Facetime, it's ridiculous!
The basic rule for your family calendar is to keep it where it's easy to update, and equally easy for every family member to see the information shared there. So the most popular places are the kitchen and the entryway/hallway where family members enter and leave the house, or someplace between these places. Here are a few favorites and we've pinned more family command center ideas here …
What I love with this family calendar is they have two calendars so you can see ahead, although I’m not sure if they have to rewrite each month … or maybe that’s a good ideas as by the beginning of the month, most questions have been resolved. There are also “to do” boards for each family member which includes Mom and Dad.
What Goes on the Family Calendar?
So what goes on the calendar? Like all planning, you should start with non-negotiables like family dinners at least twice a week and by keeping them the same night each week, you’ll have fewer conflicts to deal with.
- Family dinner days and times (to remind older children not to schedule conflicts).
- One-on-one parent-child activities, like having each child help prepare dinner one evening each week.
- Regular family activities like grocery shopping, visits to the library, etc.
- After school activities including which ones that need Mom/Dad to drive, because it’s usually Mom until she has to travel and Dad needs directions (learned from my friend Jen Powter).
- Important school and work activities so family members know when to support each other.
- School events like open houses, parents night, etc.
- Family events for birthdays, holidays, etc.
- Important reminders for kids and parents, like when library books have to be returned, or date when camp applications have to be sent in … as the spots fill up fast, and I remember when I mailed my nursery school application on the right day, but to the wrong address so Ryan had to go to a different nursery school.
- … and where it makes sense to keep reminders, even when it’s between family members as we each have different priorities and remember things differently.