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How to Create a Family Calendar

Calendar, Planner, Day Book

Once your children enter school and start getting involved in extracurricular activities, your family schedules begin to get a lot busier.  Mom stays at home and works part-time promoting her home-based business; Dad has a busy work schedule; and both children are playing spring sports.  In addition, your family is active in church events and your parents love to visit to spend time with their grandchildren. Compound this with the medical appointments for a family of four or more.  If this paints a picture of your family situation and you struggle to keep life events organized, perhaps it is time to think about creating a family calendar.

One of the most important factors to living an organized life is effective time management.  In the family scenario it is crucial to manage the time of each family member.  And in the process of creating and utilizing a family calendar it is also important to teach your children time management skills.

These steps will help you set up the best family calendar to meet the needs of your busy life.

Step 1 – Make it fun. Paramount to the success of the family calendar is to get everyone involved.  If you want this to work out well for everyone, then everyone must participate.  If you have small children, create a colorful calendar and consider writing each family members plans in a different color.

Step 2 – Determine the format of the calendar such as daily, weekly, or monthly. In most cases a monthly calendar works well to allow everyone in the family to see the activities, events, and appointments for each family member.

Step 3 – Determine the best location in your house to post the family calendar. The desired location coupled with your family needs can help you decide on the size of the calendar as well.  The calendar has to be in an area that is highly visible and should be large enough to write all family plans.

Step 4 – Determine the types of activities and events that you will track on the family calendar. List all sporting events and practices, dance lessons, medical appointment, church meetings, late work days for Dad, and anything else that helps your family runs smoothly.

Step 5 -Determine a consistent short-hand system to make it more efficient to write each persons plans on the calendar in a manner that everyone understands. Some ideas for simple short-hand are to use initials for each family member and create initials for other activities and events.  Consider using ‘MD-Smith’ for a ‘Medical Appointment with Dr. Smith’, ‘BBG’ for ‘baseball game’ or ‘basketball game’, ‘DL’ for ‘dance lessons’, etc.

Example:  John’s Baseball Game at Hillsboro Elementary School at 6:00 PM

Baseball Game, Boy Hitting Baseball

which usually lasts about two hours could be written on the date of the game as “6-8 JS – BBG at HES”.

It is important that everyone know that JS indicates John’s plans and BBG represents Baseball Games.  It can also be helpful to start with the time so you see the time first and more quickly if glancing at the calendar.

If you have elementary school age children you will need to write on the calendar, but if your children are a little older you can teach them to write their own plans on the calendar.  In either case, everyone in the family should be able to read and understand the family calendar or the purpose of creating it is lost.

Creating good habits with your children at early ages will show them the benefits of using a calendar to stay organized.  Once your children reach middle and high school when school work and activity schedules get really busy, they will already know the benefits of using a planner.  And there will be no argument over them using their own personal planner.

Share your stories of how you use a family calendar or how you could benefit from creating one for your family.


    Alejandra Costello
  • About Alejandra

    Over the past 10 years, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 90+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and "The Decluttering Queen" by Good Morning America, Alejandra's expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah.com, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can read more about Alejandra here.


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