In my opinion, one of the best parts of kids being in school is that it can bring more routine into everyone’s lives. Years of research by social scientists strongly conclude that routines help children adjust better to new situations, and improve the overall happiness of a family. For the school year to run smoothly routines are a valuable key, and schedules and calendars are a great way to get started creating this practice.
Although it might seem a bit cumbersome, I suggest each family have at minimum a shared calendar and a shared routine schedule. Then, each person in the family will likely want a personal calendar (and aybe even a personal routine) to keep track of things like homework, projects, and personal to-do items.
Whether digital or printed, there needs to be a calendar everyone in the family can post items to and review together. A big visual calendar provides lots of room to write important family events, as well as creates decoration for what might otherwise be a plain wall. If your kids are older, a shared digital calendar like Google Calendar (great for all mobile devices) or Fantastical (for iPhone) might be a good alternative for you. The most important parts of keeping a family calendar are remembering to add items to the calendar, and reviewing the calendar each evening so everyone in the family is in-tune with tomorrow’s events. Some families choose to review the calendar during the evening family meal, which is also good for keeping conversations going. The only warning about talking about the calendar at dinnertime is if you keep the calendar digitally, it means everyone will come to the meal with an electronic device.
I recommend creating the family routine in Excel or a similar grid-style software program to keep organized. You can find an app that suits your needs, and there are plenty to choose from. Included should be all seven days of the week, and break down responsibilities in the house by time of day and who will complete the task. For variety, you can switch up who does what on different days, or you may choose to keep the same responsibilities with each person if that is easier for your family. As you create your routine chart, be realistic about how much you can do and how long tasks take to complete. Time yourself for a number of days to make sure you aren’t underestimating the length of a task. At the start of each month review the routine chart as a family, and add and subtract and make alterations as necessary. Make sure everyone receives a printed copy of the routine chart on the first day of each month.
Life runs much more smoothly when you stick to a routine, than when you don’t. Try it for yourself.
Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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