Do you have a family calendar? If not, why not? When I had multiple children at home with different schedules, the family calendar saved my sanity daily. My children and husband learned quickly that if they wanted me to remember something, writing it on the calendar was the best way to make that happen. While I understand the value of a digital calendar, especially when we’re all so dependent on our phones, a written family calendar is a constant visual reminder of your and your family’s commitments.
Why I love a paper family calendar
The biggest benefit of a paper calendar at home is the ability to defer committing to anything on the spur of the moment. Because I don’t have a digital calendar, when someone asks me to do something, I tell them I will check my family calendar at home and get back to them. That way, I give myself time to thoughtfully consider the request, especially if I am uncertain whether I want to do it or not. When I get home, I make the best choice based on the calendar and how I feel about the request. It eliminates the pressure to make a quick and potentially stress inducing decision simply because my master family calendar is at home.
Color coding for greater success
One of the best tips for any calendar, whether digital or written, is to color code. In our family, each person has their own color and a different color for family items. Mom is purple. Dad is blue. The kids are black, red and green and the family is orange. We use either erasable colored pencils or erasable pens. The benefit is by looking at the calendar, we know who has commitments each day. We see the day, week and month at a glance. At one time, we also wrote the menu plan on the calendar. My kids knew what was for dinner. I remembered to get frozen meat out of the freezer for the next night’s meal. And we eliminated the dreaded question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” If you need help with that part of the calendar planning, check out The Magic Meal Plan Guide.
Who or what controls your calendar?
The most important lesson about your family calendar is remembering you control the calendar and your life, not the other way around. Moms, especially, forget that. Moms feel that they have to be everything for everyone and do everything they are invited or asked to do. I call BS. You can say no to invitations. You can skip practices, especially when your children are young. It takes courage because people pressure you to fall in line, but sometimes no is necessary. My children participated in marching band and athletics in high school. Sometimes we put family before activities and while the coaches protested, my children learned that family comes first, activities second.
The 16 month success secret
One final tip for keeping a family calendar, unless you are extremely organized, is to purchase a 16-month calendar. Switching calendars in August or September rather than January is much less stressful. I love the overlap so if you have a seamless switch to the new year without having to update your family calendar during the holidays. I look forward to switching to a new calendar near the beginning of the school year rather than stressing to get it accomplished in December.
Making your family calendar your own
The most important thing is making your calendar work for you and your loved ones. A family calendar helps the day to flow and reduces stress in the house. It takes pressure off Mom’s memory and puts it in writing. It gives mom freedom to encourage the children to update their activities and coordinate with each other rather than mom managing everything. What an easy way to teach adult skills, right? So have fun with creating your family calendar. If you’re naturally creative, go to town with stickers and stars. or if you’re less creative, use it to organize and feel more control over your day. If you’re not ready for the 16 month wall calendar try Disney, Dogs, Cats, Travel, or even Star Wars. One day, your kids may even write down their own activities and commitments, and that will be a great day. So, have fun with your family calendar and let me know how it turns out at email@example.com. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day!Click here for ways to support the Moving Toward Better mission.