Keeping a central calendar on our kitchen wall used to be sufficient. It was easy when the kids were little, because typically their schedule was dictated by me or their dad. Most weeks consisted of school, neighborhood friends and family time.
Then, almost overnight, my daughters became socialites. Now they have team sports, group projects, various after-school activities, friends that live all over town, even hair appointments. It was exhausting to keep up with our traditional wall calendar, especially since the kids either forgot to look at it to see what was already scheduled or forgot to add something of importance to the schedule. Not a week would go by when someone wouldn’t freak out and say, “But Mom! I told you last week I needed to be blank by blank time.”
I tried using a pocket-sized calendar, but then it got tedious transferring information from the pocket calendar to the kitchen wall calendar. Many times I would forget and things would either get double-booked or forgotten.
Thank goodness for a more virtual and tech savvy generation. With the introduction of smart phones, hand-held computers, iPods, and other technology, we now use Google calendar to keep our family more organized. It is my favorite tool. I have created email accounts and virtual calendars for each family member through Google. My calendar is the main resource, but I have linked each family member’s calendar to mine, and vice versa. Each family member is also color coded in order to make it easier for me to recognize whose schedule I am looking at on the main calendar. When I add something to my calendar, I am able to designate which family member it belongs to, sending an email and text to that family member to let them know what has been added. In turn, I expect them to do the same thing. Obviously, expectations are based on age. My 10-year-old is just learning how to keep her own schedule, but my teenager is responsible for even scheduling time with her friends. I love that she can look at her calendar and see where she needs to be, where I need to be, and if there is available time to have a friend spend the night or meet for shopping. I’ve started making it her responsibility to even add things like choir concerts, swim meets and play practice.
This new way of scheduling has already proven to be a lifesaver. Occasionally, I travel and leave my husband in charge. He truly appreciates the ability to view our family calendar’s detailed instructions of where everyone needs to be and at what time. But he really appreciates that the Google calendar allows me to put in an address. And through our amazing technology, he can click on the link and get driving directions. The more detailed you make the calendars, the more interactive and efficient it becomes. It’s also nice to know that he can pull up the calendar from our home computer, his work computer or his phone. (Of course, just to be sure there is no confusion, I always print out a copy for him before I leave.) I also love being able to put important school or sports events on the calendar and send my husband a reminder email about what time he needs to be somewhere.
Still need one more reason to try this free virtual calendar? How about the ability to schedule tasks? We can also add a task to the calendar with reminders. My next goal is to get my teenager to make task lists of things she needs for school or personal use. It would be great to get a heads up that she needs a new swim cap by the end of the week and have it show up on my daily calendar.
How do you keep your family’s schedule organized?