By Michelle Mady
As a parent, one of the most stressful things is managing everyone’s needs, including schedules. I’m a mom of 5 and believe me when I say: it’s not easy.
There’s the schedule of necessities, e.g. bills, doctor’s appointments, trash day, and of course, coupon and sale expiration dates. Then we have what I call the “come-and-go schedules,” which include work schedules, school schedules, carpools and extracurricular activities. In this world of remote learning, there are also schedules of who needs to be on what computer and on which call by what time.
In this world of remote learning, there are also schedules of who needs to be on what computer and on which call by what time.
As difficult as it may be, I have found a few tricks to help keep my family following their own schedules, as well as the overall household schedule, and stay as organized as possible.
Don’t Overlook Linear Calendars
Linear calendars help manage typical weekly appointments or chores. Use a long piece of paper, making seven vertical sections: one for each day of the week. A simple clothespin can be moved to mark each day of the week.
The best thing about a linear calendar is that it is appropriate for children of any age, so families with many children can benefit from the typically scheduled events on one. Looking at it each evening will give everyone a sense of preparedness for the day ahead.
The best thing about a linear calendar is that it is appropriate for children of any age.
Each morning, the clothespin that notes the day moves over. Everyone can look and see what the day holds. For my household, this also helps take some of the scheduling responsibility off of my shoulders. Is there dance class today? Go check the schedule! For younger children, use pictures. For example, a picture of the dance studio on Wednesdays, and a picture of their teacher on daycare or school days. This is a great way to keep track of the “comings and goings” schedule.
We use our Amazon Alexa device for keeping our schedules straight. We set routines that alert a specific Dot to remind one of our children to get on a call. It reminds them that it is time for their lunch break, as they each break at slightly different times. I have it set to remind me to get them ready for karate and dance class. We have a reminder for trash day that goes off on all of the devices in the house. The alert letting me know that the electric bill is due only goes off in my office. Just this one support has helped increase my sanity!
Now that activities are starting to reopen in some areas and children are allowed to participate, we, as parents, are excited to get them out of the house! It’s easy to overschedule in an effort to make up for lost time during the pandemic. Sit back, however, and balance the passion for said activity with the amount of pressures and stress it may bring back to the household. Ask yourself, what strains will this put on our household schedule and what has to move in order to facilitate my child’s participation?
Children can actually benefit from “boredom” and downtime. Instead, match your extracurricular activity time with downtime, hour for hour, helping to balance both your child’s engagement as well as your household schedule.
Children can actually benefit from “boredom” and downtime.
If your linear calendar needs a second page, or your Alexa is reminding you of something constantly, consider resetting your schedule boundaries.
Managing schedules can be overwhelming. Many members of the corporate world hire people to help them manage their schedules. Some people find a career as a household manager, keeping track of the household schedules and needs. For many of us parents, we are the “schedule keepers” and need to fill our toolbox with as many tools as possible.