Work, school, hobbies, extracurricular activities, family time: When you have kids, keeping track of who needs to be where at what time can be tricky. It's OK to drop the ball every once in a while, but on the whole, you can manage the joint schedule like a champion with a few tricks.
Good communication from all members of your family is the most crucial element in successfully managing your family's schedule. That means your kids should know to tell you about a birthday party invite they got from friends at school or changes to soccer practice times. Your significant other should let you know when he or she is staying late at work. Get your family in the habit of talking about their individual schedules so you have the opportunity to take note.
You can do this a few ways. Give older kids access to your family calendar (whether it's physical or digital), make a family text group, or have a dry-erase board or chalkboard in your home where people can write. Create a standard avenue for communication.
Make a calendar
A family calendar is a space where you can keep notes of where everyone needs to be. It can be a physical calendar where everyone writes down information or a digital one, such as Google Calendar or Cozi. If you go the digital route, cloud-based software is important, as such calendars allow for multiple users, all of whom can make changes to the schedule. This way, you and your kids can add an event even when they're not at home. A digital calendar also allows you to insert notes and set reminders. Need to RSVP to a party? Make a reminder to go along with the actual party event in the calendar.
If you prefer physical calendars and writing down notes yourself, go with paper. Make sure the calendar is large enough to fit all of the items your entire family has on their schedules. You'll also want room for notes. Encourage your kids to write on the calendar, too. You can even assign each member a different color pen to make it clear who is involved in which event.
"Designate schedule tasks to appropriate individuals."
Do you know who will be in charge of picking your kids up from their extracurricular activities or grabbing groceries? Designate tasks to appropriate individuals. For instance, teenagers who have drivers' licenses can help with picking up and dropping off siblings and running errands. Younger children can do chores. Knowing who is doing what is especially important for you and your spouse - someone has to get the kids after all.
Make note of who is in charge of what on your calendar, or try using project management software for your family. Free sites let you assign tasks to other users and send out alerts when items are due. The software may have been made for professionals, but it can certainly keep your family organized!
Save time (and probably gas money) by coordinating with other families who participate in your kids' activities. For instance, you can trade off who will drive your kids to their dance class each week. For extra savings, make a carpool rotation with all of the families involved who live near one another. Vehicle size can be a limitation on how many families participate in one carpool, but the more you can fit, the less often you have to drive.
In addition to carpooling, team up with parents who can be your emergency contact. Is one of your kids sick but your others need to get to practice? Have another parent on call who will be willing to swoop in during these situations, and be willing to do the same for him or her.