Keep Calm and Carry On

Busy Family Calendar

Photo by Elf Sternberg

The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah came and went. Christmas Day is right around the corner, as is New Year’s. Time flies. There is no doubt the holidays can be stressful with the hustle and bustle. It’s supposed to be a time of joy, reflection, and happiness, but the long lines, traffic, and just not enough hours in the day admittedly get in the way sometimes. As the new year rapidly approaches, I find myself thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I know I’ve had my share. Some of my prior resolutions were to exercise more, volunteer more, be more patient with my husband and children. This year I hope to be more organized with my family calendar. Staying organized despite a busy family calendar is a challenge for me regardless of the season.

Keeping the family calendar is no small feat. Between extracurricular activities, work schedules, school events, and family get-togethers, this can be a lot for any parent to keep track of. Pre-planning and scheduling activities ahead of time is the key. When you receive the school calendar, document all of the school holidays, conference days, and events. Sports practices and games are good to get on the calendar as soon as you receive the schedule. Family birthday parties and special occasions are also good to schedule in advance. When other, unexpected activities come up, you will be able to schedule without hesitation.

Don’t be afraid to set some scheduling limits. Sometimes you need some down time, and so do your kids. This helps get some rest, clear your mind, and allow your kids some unstructured play. Limit the number of activities your kids participate in. Most kids want to join every sport team or every club.   Help them select the activities they want to do the most. One or two activities per season is a reasonable scheduling goal. This will allow them to participate in structured activities, while also allowing room to attend sleepovers and birthday parties, while staying healthy and rested. This also models for kids how to manage their own time as they get older, by prioritizing their goals.

Look over your calendar on a regular basis. There is no way to remember everything and checking the calendar routinely will help you to remember what’s coming up in the next few days. I sometimes have to look at my calendar multiple times a day to stay on top of activities. This helps to prevent double-booking, missing an activity or event, and even helps to feel more in control of your time.

Share your calendar. A family calendar should be monitored by THE FAMILY. Not just mom or dad. High school kids are more than capable of keeping an eye on their activities and planning accordingly. Of course, they will still need prompting and supervision. Paper calendars or personal organizers are great for keeping track, but may not be as accessible to an entire family. Online shared calendars work well. It’s important to use a trusted site that will protect your private family information. The iPhone Cloud allows families to share calendars.   OurFamilyWizard website and app not only schedules a busy family calendar, it also schedules parent-time for families with more than one home. If the kids are going to mom’s house on Tuesday, Mom is able to see their planned events and vice versa when the kids are at their dad’s home. It helps to clarify drop off and pick up, as well as upcoming school events and extracurricular activities.

No matter how you choose to stay sane with a busy family calendar, I wish you a happy and healthy 2016!