Making a plan vital in order to be able to meet all the children's needs. If you have to drive the kids to school as well as afternoon activities like we do, it needs to be feasible. First, because you cannot be in two places at the same time. Second, because driving always needs time and you have to be able to allocate this time every week, for years. This is one reason why I work as an entrepreneur – working from home gives me the freedom to be able to spend the afternoons with my children.
Of course, I could delegate this task to someone else, but I know they need my attention every day and seeing them only the evenings would be really bad for them. They let me travel, but when I’m home they need to spend quality time spent together with me, every day. You have to know your kids and align everything to their needs and personalities. Don’t forget, the first priority is their happiness and a balanced life.
Last but not least, you need flexibility and agility. Anything can happen. A field trip when you have to align the daily plans. School closes due to a snow storm when you have to keep your children home. A business trip of yours or your partners when you have to make sure everyone’s schedule can fit as much as possible. These all need flexibility.
But even if nothing unexpected happens, you can see from my list above, that it’s a pretty big load to handle every day. We have way too many tasks, in our jobs, in school. We have too much to do and appointments. Sometimes it’s easy to schedule everything, sometimes the events conflict.
Here are some agile tips and tricks what we use in our home:
- Family calendar: At the moment it’s in my calendar and I share the events with my husband, but as both of my kids get more and more familiar with the computers I’m pretty sure this is going to be a shared calendar pretty soon.
- Corkboard: This is the center of organizing our lives now. We installed a cork board in our dining room – living room area, where we put everything; kids’ timetables and meal plans, recent crafts and drawings, but also a detailed task list for each child. The task lists consist of tasks for “This week”, “Next week” and “Later”, and is maintained by the kids themselves.
- We always discuss what’s done and what should be done the next day (kind of daily stand-ups), and we also add the new tasks to the board every afternoon. We use the weekends to plan the next week as well as to evaluate the last week (what’s been done, what went well, what we should improve, what we should change, etc.).
- We always discuss if a plan cannot be met. Not only the facts, but also the reasons, if we could have avoided it somehow, what we should do next time, etc.
The results? – Still flexible ;-) But it’s definitely good to see how my children are growing to be more and more organized, and how they learn to be flexible if needed. Being organized, having well-planned schedules and being flexible are attitudes that we must have. Life tells us when we need which one.
What are your techniques? I would really like to hear your tricks to keep your family life on track, even with kids who have so much to do.