Ways to Manage a Shared Family Calendar
Staying on top of a busy schedule can be a real pain, especially when your schedule involves more than just things you have to do. Kids at any age often have a lot on their plates, but they aren't always the ones held responsible for managing their own agendas. Parents, on the other hand, are the ones who are in charge of making sure that the kids are where they need to be, and they do so on top of managing everything going on in their own lives. Just when you think that things can't get any more complicated, throw a shared parenting schedule into the mix, and the whole game changes. Separated or divorced parents have quite a task to handle in terms of schedule management. The right strategies and tools can help co-parents to more easily manage this very important task, but with so many schedule management options available, some parents may be asking what really are the best ways to manage a shared family calendar. Here are some of those questions answered.
What Do I Put On It?
When maintaining a shared family calendar after separation or divorce, co-parents may be asking themselves exactly what needs to go on the agenda. First, you'll want to get your parenting schedule down right away. Shared parenting schedules are the bones of a family agenda after separation or divorce. No matter how easy it is for you to remember the rotation in your head, you'll still want to get this in writing on your calendar. This will help to make it so that neither you, your co-parent nor your kids have trouble remembering it. Second, get your holiday parenting schedule on the calendar for as far out into the future as you know it. Holidays can quickly become a contended date if co-parents are arguing over who gets to be with the kids on which days. In many instances, the holiday parenting schedule is already agreed upon for many years out, but if it's not written down in a place that's easily accessible to both parents, it may become lost knowledge. Third, get the kids' events and other important dates documented. Between sports practice, music lessons, birthday parties, school plays, big tests, and so many other things that flood a child's schedule, it's easy for a parent to get lost in the details. Besides these three main things that you should document, think of other important information that you need to know as a family. Your family calendar should remain just that: a family calendar. Each parents' personal work or social calendar should be documented somewhere else, but if something on your own agenda will conflict or impact something on the family calendar, that will probably be worth noting.
How Do We Share It?
In the past, sharing a calendar with a co-parent across two homes meant physically carrying it back and forth during parenting time exchanges. If not that, then it meant that you had to make paper copies of one calendar to give to the other parent, always having to remember to tell the other parent when changes had to be made to it. Both of these strategies are somewhat complicated and open the door for possible conflict over the schedule to occur. Today, the most efficient way to share a family calendar across multiple homes is to use an online calendar. Online calendars are simple to share across long distances and are easy to update. However, it is important that you choose the right online calendar that fits your family's needs. You'll want to make sure that your online family calendar is secure and only accessible to those whom you share it with. Also, you should use a calendar that alerts you when updates are made to it by each parent. This will help make it so that you never miss a beat as far as your family's agenda is concerned.
What About The Kids?
Parents of young kids may be asking this: how do we keep our young ones aware of the schedule if we use an online calendar? When kids are still too young to be online all of the time or are just learning about calendars, they may respond better to a paper calendar that is kept in a place that is easy for them to see it. Colours to help them recognize the parenting schedule and images that tell them what type of event is happening can be much easier for a young child to understand as opposed to just words on a page. For this reason, consider choosing a shared online calendar that has printing options so that you can get that calendar into a place that's easy for your youngsters to access. You might paste a copy on their bedroom wall, on the refrigerator in the kitchen, or right by the door where they put their shoes on before leaving the house. Having options to print the calendar and the view it online will be helpful as they grow up. When they have more access to the internet, invite them to have view-only access to the online version of your family calendar. Older kids who are always on the go (and always on their smartphones) may prefer this type of access.
What to put on your family calendar, how to share it, and what to do in terms of giving kids access to it are all important questions to consider when working out a shared agenda with your co-parent. Fortunately, you don't have to look too hard to find a suitable online tool that gives you the right shared calendaring options plus so much more. The OurFamilyWizard® website has a shared calendaring feature that is equipped with the right tools to build your family's schedule and provide access to those who need it. The OFW® calendar offers colour-coded parenting schedules, event icons, and multiple printing options. Rules built into the system require parents to only enter specific details so that the calendar entries are clear and unambiguous. These rules also only allow parents to create or edit entries that are still upcoming so that the history of past calendar events and other entries remains accurate. Notifications keep parents up to date on new entries being posted as well as when entries are edited or deleted. With all of these calendaring features plus access to expense management tools, document storage, and messaging options, OFW® can help co-parents to improve communication and organize all sorts of important family information.
The less time you spend worrying about your family's schedule, the more time you have to spend focusing on your kids. Getting your family's calendar set up on OFW® is simple. Sign up today to get started!