Tips for Organizing Your Family's Schedule
If your family's schedule is anything like mine you may want to consider an easy way of keeping track of each person's activities and appointments. I use to rely on my brain alone to keep track of where each person had to be and when, but as my family grew the capacity of my brain's scheduling system did not. The six of us in my home have a variety of different appointments, sports, activities, and work schedules that need to be tracked thoroughly. I found a system that works perfect for us, maybe it will be perfect for you too.
Appointments, Appointments, Appointments
Appointments can be very hard to keep track of, especially if they are set months in advance. I found by using a pocketbook size calendar to carry with me at all times helps in scheduling future appointments. I can look at the availability of that day right in the doctor's office to be sure the appointment will not conflict with anything else that may be going on. This also lessens the odds of having to reschedule that appointment in the future. Appointments for four kids vary dramatically. The youngest stills needs more regular well check-ups, where the older ones not so much. Then we have eye doctor appointments for one child, dentist appointments for each, along with keeping track of our own appointments. By writing the appointment in the calender from my purse while at the office ensures that the appointment will not be overlooked or forgotten, it is very hard to keep track of a million little appointment cards, for me anyway, this is much easier.
Sports and Other Activities
We have four children, three of which play sports. Two children play soccer and one child plays football. The practices for each child are on different days and at different times. The practice times for two of the children vary, where the other stays the same. Keeping track of practice times is very important to us because it shows the children a sense of responsibility to their other team mates. It takes each child to complete the team, not just one, so by showing up regularly and on time helps them realize what being responsible is and that their teammates and them are all in it together.
Along with sports we also have band practice. Band practice takes place during the school year. There are different days that each of the older children have to take their instrument to school so this is also placed on the calendar to help reduce the risk of forgetting their instruments. There are days they need to be at school early, and days they need to be picked up late, so the calendar ensures that I am available to get them to and from school for practice. It also helps me set up a back-up person if I know I will be unavailable on a particular day. It is much easier to find someone in advance rather than at the last minute and I would hate for them to miss a practice due to my lack of planning.
Everything is placed on the calendar, from practices, to games, to their band concerts, this way nothing is forgotten and we can schedule other things around these important events.
School work also has a place on our calendar. My third youngest is involved with our local school's Shine Program. This program offers extra help to children that need it throughout the school year and summer months. One of the school's teachers comes to our home weekly to work with him for one hour. It is generally the same day and time each week, but it does from time to time need to be scheduled differently. It may be due to national holidays, conflicting appointments the teacher may have, or conflicting appointments we may have, so by keeping track of this ensures he will consistently receive the extra help he needs to succeed.
I also mark due dates for the older two chidren's assignments. They are now receiving more assignments that may take two to three weeks to complete. This way they are more aware of how much time they have left to have the assignment completed and it helps us keep track of their progress with the assignment.
The calendar also helps with knowing what dress code requirements affect each school day. Each child has gym generally on different days. So it helps me know which attire is required for each day of the week. Our school district requires dress cloths for four days out of the week, and gym cloths for one day each week, so I need to know what day each child has gym so I can have them dress accordingly.
My youngest is now beginning Head Start this year. There are orientation days that I am required to attend with him, and then throughout the year there will be different activities that may take place during Head Start hours or during evening hours, so all of this will too need to be tracked.
My husband works for a Head Start Program. He has regular weekly hours but he also has to attend different activities for the Head Start during evening hours. We also mark this information on the calendar so that we are sure his work does not conflict with important activities of our children. This way it gives him enough time to find someone to cover for him if he is unable to attend due to other activities of our children. This happened at the end of the last school year, he was scheduled to work on the same day of our children's very first band concert, luckily he was able to find someone to cover for him at work so that he can attend this important event for the kids.
He also has trainings that he must attend on certain days and by placing it on the calendar it ensures he will show up at the correct location. Also it helps him in scheduling his doctor appointments because the trainings he must attend are usually mandatory, this way nothing is scheduled on those days. This prevents him from having to reschedule his other appointments whether they be doctor, dentist, etc.
Knowing his schedule also helps me at home determine what time to make dinner. If he has an evening activity I would cook earlier than normal so that everyone can have dinner at the same time. Then he does not have to go back to work starving because he is not very pleasant when he is hungry.
Find The Right System For You
Every person's scheduling needs are different so it is important to find the best system for you and your family. It took me a couple of tries to get it right so do not give up if at first it doesn't seem to be working. By making a few changes along the way it will help you develop a scheduling process that works perfect for you.
I use a three calendar system. I have a small calendar that I carry in my purse, a larger book sized calendar that stays at home, and two dry erase calendar that stay on the refrigerator. I transfer appointment and activities times from my small calendar into the larger one, then each month I write the information on the dry erase calendar. There are always two dry erase calendars on the refrigerator, one for the current month and one for the following month. The current months calendar is on the front of the fridge and the following month's calendar is on the side of the fridge. This way everyone has easy access to the family's scheduled appointments and activities.