My daughter comes home from school and says she have a book report due in three weeks. I make a note on my laptop or phone as a reminder. Two weeks later, I ask her about the assignment and she says “I forgot”.

My phone beeps with a reminder that it is garbage collection day. I see that my kid has not hauled the garbage cans out to the curb. When I talk with him to find out why, he says “I forgot”.

My daughter’s soccer practice changes and I adjust the time in my phone. One week later my husband is late to a game, asks me why I didn’t let him know, and I say “I forgot”. (No, of course this never happened to me.)

Balancing a family’s schedule is challenging to say the least. There are family activities, school schedules, holiday events, athletic practices and games, music lessons and performances, play dates, birthday parties, business travel, and weekend plans. And those all-important date nights.

Usually one parent takes on the responsibility of maintaining the family calendar, but they usually do it electronically. While it is helpful to have someone who is responsible, it is more helpful when every family member sees the whole schedule. Having a large paper (or white board) calendar in your kitchen or family room helps to keep everyone aware of everyone’s schedule.

A shared paper calendar teaches children time management, allows them to see for themselves why parents sometimes need to say “no”, and encourages them to take on more responsibility for their own time and decisions. A shared paper calendar reduces disagreements and arguments and frustrated feelings. And a shared paper calendar makes you feel more like a team, all on the same page…literally.

Now when my son asks me if I can drive him somewhere, I tell him to check the calendar and see if I am available or already booked doing something else. He can now see for himself if I am able to say “yes”, and will not feel annoyed with me if I say “no”.

Now when my tween asks if she can join the robotics team, we can look at the calendar together and see if the training schedule will fit in with her already scheduled activities. She will no longer feel that I am just being mean by saying “no”. She can see for herself if time will allow her to join, and will understand if she needs to turn down the opportunity.

Now when my teen tells me on a Tuesday that he wants to go to a party Saturday night (and he is given permission to go), he can write it on the calendar for all to see. He can also see that when he notifies us at least 3 days in advance, as is our family rule, we are more likely to say “Yes”.

So go buy a large size desk calendar and one marker, in different colors, for each family member.

Hang the calendar where everyone can see it, and store the markers nearby.

Write down everyone’s activities and tasks, the everyday ones as well as all
the new things that pop up.

And then remember to look at it every day.
It’s going to help, I promise.