Family Calendar Systems That Work


It had been a busy day, but not any crazier than usual. I had run one son to Boy Scouts, dropped a daughter at tutoring, and endured a Scout Pack meeting. (Did I say endure?) I was finally home, settling in for the evening and running a bath for my little ones. Just as they got settled into the water, it struck me that someone was missing. I had forgotten to pick up my other daughter from gymnastics!

I ran through the house yelling for my oldest to watch the little ones in the tub (don’t worry, he’s thirteen) while I ran to pick her up. I was 45 minutes late.

Why didn’t she call? Well, she did, four times. I had left my phone in the van and never once heard it ring. Thankfully, she called her friend’s mom who picked her up and dropped her off at home, and I actually ended up passing them on my way to pick her up.

When I walked in the door, I hugged her to me, and we both cried while I apologized over and over again. I realized that I needed a new system to keep track of my crazy life.

I switched to a digital calendar about a year ago, and while it works for the long-term stuff, I’ve found that I need a bold, in-your-face, look-at-me-100-times-a-day calendar.

After my mishap, I bought a large whiteboard and taped it off using masking tape into two-week sections and also into days of the week. Each kid has a different colored dry erase marker, and everything is written down where the whole family can see.

With the help of my eldest, I devised a system where I write This Week and Next Week along the side, and then on Sunday, all I do is erase the word This and Next, switch them, and put the new week up on the board. That makes it so I don’t have to rewrite the current week and allows me to have two weeks on the board at a time. I also included a Color Key just in case (I should say for when) I forget who belongs to which color.

I hung it in the kitchen where I spend a great deal of time, and it serves as a constant reminder of the day’s events. It has also helped the kids because they can see what they have going on that day, which, in turn, helps me not to forget them.

I still haven’t completely forgotten the way my heart sank when I realized that I had forgotten my daughter. It was one of those moments that made me think maybe I’m not cut out for having a large family. (It’s a little late for that, but you know what I mean.) But as traumatic as this experience was, I’ve learned that mistakes are useful because they help me rethink the way I am doing things and help me to find a better way. Since devising the new system, I haven’t forgotten anyone or any event.

I suppose the true test will happen in two weeks when the boys start football practice.

QUESTION: Does your current calendaring system work for you? Are there ways to change or improve it?

CHALLENGE: Take half an hour this week to consider the above questions and make any changes necessary so that your calendaring system work for you and your family.


Photo submitted by Stacey Meservy


  1. R Young says

    I JUST did the same type of calendar for my family of seven. Mostly because i was forgetting way too much stuff! My hubby keeps trying to talk me into going digital, but I think I NEED to have something in my kitchen that I walk past constantly! Here’s hoping it works!

  2. says

    If any of you are into calendars on your mobile device, I want to recommend Cozi. This is a free App and it is wonderful! All the members of your family can install it on their device and then share the calendar so you can all see it! I do not work for them nor am I being paid to post this :) It has helped our family so much so I wanted to share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *