It’s back to school time again! The beautiful days of summer are done and we’re back into the swing of things. I don’t know about you, but this means that I have to go into master planning mode. Now that R is entering grade one (when did he get so big!) and playing select hockey, it’s going to be a busy school year. I’m also gearing up for new responsibilities at work plus additional doctors appointments and tests. With all of the activities, school events, holidays and work to come I have to put an efficient and simple method of family calendar planning in place.
Since we have a number of different priorities to balance, I like to use a home based family calendar, a work planner and my online calendar.
3 Steps to Mastering your Family Calendar
Step One: Gather Everything
For us, this includes work calendars, school calendars, after school activity calendars along with any holidays, PD days, special events and early closings. It’s also important to create a system for keeping track of online invitations to birthday parties and other events.
I like to set all of this up on the dining room table. This way, I can go through everything with ease.
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In addition to the “source material” I also need the different calendars I’ll be entering the information in to. For me, it includes my phone, the home school calendar and my work calendar.Three easy steps to mastering your family calendar once and for all! #parenting #momlife Click To Tweet
Step Two: Go Through and Write it all Down
For step two you’ll need to set aside a big chunk of time depending on the number of people in your household and their activities, jobs etc.
To make it easier, you can divide the year in three:
- Part I: start of school until winter holiday break
- Part II: holiday break until summer break
- Part III: summer break until start of school.
For Part I, I start planning as soon as I get my son’s school calendar. I often feel like I have a bit more time when planning Part II and Part III because I’m already in the middle of the school year (for Part II). In addition, the summer is always a bit less hectic for us making Part III easier to schedule.
Step two is exactly what it sounds like, go through all of the “source material” and schedule it in. Make note of anything that is different from the typical day. I try to write down days when R has lunch at school, needs to wear a special shirt for a school program etc. I basically write down anything that I might forget.
Depending on the planning method you prefer, you’ll be making note of these events in your paper calendar, day timer and/or phone.
At our house everything goes into the home calendar since it sits on the fridge all year. I always use it as our main reference. Plus, since it’s from R’s school it has many of the special dates already included.
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I put early closings, appointments, extra curricular activity schedules and other special events in my day timer and my phone.
Step Three: Communicate
Adding key dates to my phone brings me to Step Three – communicate.
This one is a challenge for sure. E has a hectic work schedule that often includes firm meetings, networking events and volunteer commitments. Plus, R loves sports and is always doing a number of activities.
As such, we need to organize a lot of the school and extra curricular related activities as soon as we can. Once everything is in the calendar we’re golden.
This step requires a tag team effort. With both of us keeping track, it works really well. Usually I start by adding all of the days off into my paper and iPhone calendars. Whenever I add something, I make sure to invite E and he does the same. That way we both know what’s going on. I also do my best to email him or tell him about any birthday celebrations for R’s friends that he may not know about.
We update this step for each of the Parts of the year. We certainly miss important dates or give R lunch when he’s having a hot lunch at school. However, for the most part we make it to our key events and are prepared for what’s ahead.
How do you and your family manage your family calendar? Please leave your tips in the comments I’m sure everyone would love to read them!
For more information on parenting please check out these posts:
- Secrets to Traveling with Kids
- How to be a more Empathetic Parent
- Helping your Child Transition to Kindergarten
I’ll be sharing this post at some of my favourite link parties!