One of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is staying organized and on top of things. It does not matter if you are a stay at home parent or work outside the home, organization of the family’s time, stuff and schedules is an on going battle. Here are some of the things I have done to make time management of my family of five a little easier and a lot less crazy.
Get a Calendar
One of the greatest tools I have found is a calendar that lets you organize your “to-do’s” by family member. These types of calendars allow you to list each family member, starting with mom and then fill in each persons activities by the day or week. You can create your own on a dry erase board or purchase one to complete. This way you can see exactly what everyone has to do each day, block out time for vacations and family events easily or even note important things like birthdays so everyone can know when they are. Older kids can see when parents are particularly busy and parents can keep track of school events. Post your calendar on the fridge or in a place that everyone will see it.
Create a Request Box
If you have older children, you can create a “request box”. This box will allow for family members to write a note like “need shampoo for Jenny” or “Jared needs two dozen cupcakes for bake sale on 11/20.” You can also have kids place forms that need to be completed in the box too. This will keep all the “needs” in one place. If you you don’t have the space for a box, use a clip on the fridge. One parent can go through the notes each evening or at the end of each week and then complete them as needed. This will make sure everyone’s needs are heard and met even in the most busy times of the week.
I cannot tell you how much color coding can make your life easier as a parent. Some ideas for color coding could be that one child has a red backpack and a red lunch box while another has a green backpack and lunch box. That way you know exactly who’s stuff is who’s which makes it easier to keep track of. Some parents have even gone as far as assigning a color to bath towels and washcloths. That way you know who’s is left on the floor or who’s has not been used (which means someone has missed a shower or bath). Color coding for chores is also helpful. You can create a chart and assign tasks of different degrees of time or difficulty a color which makes them easier and more fair to assign to kids or you can assign each child a color and then post chores for the week.
Make a List
Prioritize what needs to be done each week and post it on a dry erase board. That way everyone can see what needs to be done and nothing is forgotten. You can purchase an 8 x 10 sized dry erase board that will easily hang on the fridge for under five dollars. This will help you remember what important things need to be done each week.