Back To School Solutions #3: Coordinating Crazy Schedules

Every family can relate to this common struggle.  Keeping track of a broad range of activities, practices, meetings, tests, and assignments can be a daunting, if not overwhelming, task.  The following are a few simple suggestions to make this part of back-to-school family life a little bit easier.


Functional Family Calendar

Hung conveniently on the fridge or kitchen wall, a large monthly calendar is a great way to keep your family in the loop.  The dilema, of course, is that it’s impossible to use away from home.  If an electronic version is out of your budget, try this little trick.  Rather than buying a large wall-size calendar, opt for a slightly smaller notebook-size version.  When it needs to function as a family calendar, use magnetic clips to hold it open and display it on the fridge.  When you’re on the go, simply pop off the clips and toss it in your purse.

Kid-Friendly Planners

Be in sneakers for P.E. class, library books, or musical instruments, helping your kids get off to school with the right equipment can be a huge hassle.  Help them mangae their own daily activites by creating a simple weekly chart.  These help your kids keep track of what’s going on at school, what’s for lunch, and any extra-curricular activites.  Plans for homemade velcro versions are available online (see this post).  Stick the planners on the fridge or pantry door so your kids will be able to check them each morning before school.

Activity Information Binder

The first few weeks of school often result in a sea of important information like sport schedules, class directories, and school calendars, often buried in piles on the kitchen counter.  Keep track of everything by making an Activity Information Binder.  Use a simple three-ring binder and add three dividers for each of your school-age children: one for calendars, one for directories, and one for micellaneous activity information.  next time you need a number or a litte information about your children’s schedules, you’ll know just where to look.

Weekly Family Meetings

Nothing can simplify the scheduling struggle as efficiently as a weekly family meeting.  Held at a regular time and place, family meetings can be critical in your back-to-school survival.  Encourage each member of the family to bring his or her weekly planner and take a few minutes to update the family calendar.  In particular, the first back-to-school family meeting should include the following topics for discussion: clothing and school supply budgets, morning routine plans, homework rules, allowance structure, and TV/cell phone/computer limits.

*This post is an excerpt from an article published by Organize Magazine, Sept/Oct 2007, Volume 02, pg 42-49, written by Maria Eckersley, photos by Lanola Kathleen Stone.


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