Whether you work or stay at home, if you have a family, you are going to need to find some sort of calendar solution to keep track of each household member’s activities, appointments and beyond.
In my early years of marriage – sans kids – my husband and I maintained our own calendar systems. Given that was over a decade ago, the Franklin Covey Planner was the trend of the day.
Fast forward to 2014, and we now have two busy careers, three children and commitments EVERY SINGLE DAY. No joke! My two older kids – ages 9 and 7 – have activities galore. This spring alone, we are juggling two soccer teams, baseball, karate, scouts, and religious education and of course the general school activities that pop up throughout the year (jersey day, picture day, Open House, etc.).
So how do we survive?
Well, my husband and I quickly realized a few years ago we needed to get ultra-organized and increase our communication.
I know there are multiple calendar solutions on the market, so I wanted to share a few we’ve explored, and ultimately where we landed.
- iCal – We are a happy Apple family. iMac, iPads, iPhones, iTouches. So it only made sense to synch up our iCal and load in all family events, sports schedules and appointments into this one digital system. My husband takes the lead on dropping most dates in as soon as we get a new sports calendar or school event. He also likes to set it so we receive reminders a day before, teeing up any discussions we need to have about pick-ups, grandparent help and beyond.
- Erin Condren Life Planner – In addition to the digital calendar, I like to have an actual physical calendar. Erin Condren’s calendars are super cute, and they come loaded with stickers to drop in for birthdays, appointments, events and beyond. The Life Planner comes with both weekly and monthly page views. I find I generally just use the monthly view, and I jot down all events, when I’m working from home, family dinners for the week and any other odds and ends I want to capture. This planner stays in our kitchen by the phone, and I find myself glancing at it often to see where we stand in the month – and ideally where we have a little free time to play.
- Cozi – While I have not used Cozi, I know there are many moms who swear by this free calendar system. It sounds pretty amazing with its capability to capture all the obvious events, grocery lists, messages and notes. They’ve also recently updated Cozi so you can import your Google calendar as well. Perhaps I’ll give this system a try in the future, but since my husband is taking the lead on loading things on iCal, I don’t want to rock the boat.
- Google Calendar – Other families love Google. You can again synch up family calendars, and additionally access this system offline. If you’re working with other parents frequently, you might like this calendar system to send invites, and track RSVPs. And it’s FREE!
Bottom line, each family should select the system that works best for them.
It is so important for both parents to commit to the chosen system. After all, if only one parent checks the calendar and drops in their appointments, the system will collapse.
And like I noted earlier, it helps to load everything in as soon as you get sports schedules, school calendars and appointments so you can capture a view of what you various seasons look like early.
Have you found a family calendar system that works for your household?
Does it help you stay organized or has it given you added stress?