7 Easy Ways to Keep Track of Your Family Routine
We all know family routines are very important in our day-to-day life. It keeps us organized and prevents our life from becoming too chaotic, especially if we have children. Studies show that a regular routine creates a structure to the kids, who learn to be more organized, focused, and disciplined. But how do we start a functioning family routine? Better yet, how do we keep track of it so we don’t start slacking?
Creating the family routine
The first thing you need to do is start writing everything down. The daily routines for getting everybody ready in the morning, bath time, mealtimes, meaningful rituals, etc. The weekly routines for housework and cleaning, who should do what and all the daily chores. Everything should be visually clear for you, otherwise it can get messy really easily. After getting everything there, you should try different ways of keeping track of it to see what works best. Do you work better with lists? Checklists? Charts? Calendar? A daily planner? You can make a list of things for your kid to do in no particular order or you can make an hourly planner for keeping it more organized. Each family works in a different way and you’ll have to keep trying different methods to see what works better for you.
Lists and Charts
One of the easiest ways to keep track of things is by making lists or charts. You can make a daily list on your phone of things you have to do and places to go, or you can also make a permanent chart and put it on the wall for weekly chores, like grocery shopping or going to the post office, for example.
A checklist is a great way of making the kids stay organized. A nightly checklist containing, for example, putting the completed homework in the backpack, brushing the teeth and setting aside the dirty clothes, makes the kid feel more responsible. Even if he doesn’t want to, after a week of getting encouragement and maybe getting a little reward(like little stars on each completed task or even an ice cream by the end of the week), will make him get used to the chores.
But, you may be asking: how can I make this work? Isn’t this list just going to get lost soon? Well, how about we make it permanent? There are a lot of different and fun ways we can make this list or chart visual and making your family stick to it.
One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to keep track of chores and routines is through a printed checklist put on a picture frame. The fun part is that you can use a sharpie to write on the glass and just clean it later for the next round. It’s dynamic! You can use it for everything: for lists and charts, for the kids chores, for the cleaning duties, for writing who should do what, as a blank calendar you can write the appointments over it, as a daily planner… It can be used for everything. You can make any list or chart you want on the computer (or just get a free one on Pinterest), print it and put it on the frame. So easy!
Magnetic boards are a great option for charts. It’s a simple visual way to remember you what are the tasks for the day and “check” what is already done. There are many ways you can personalize and use it, and it’s especially great for the kids. If you want something more homemade, Craftaholics Anonymous made this amazing DIY that shows us how we can make a magnetic board with a cookie baking sheet, which is really easy and the result is very interesting.
Chalkboards are a very good option for visual planning. You can draw a calendar, a weekly planner, a to-do list or even the daily routine, whatever works best for your family. As seen on the image, you don’t need to buy a chalkboard per se. You can make one! Just use chalkboard paint on plywood, fiberboard, directly on the wall, on the glass of a picture frame or even on an old window frame.
Directly on the wall
If you want something simpler and easier to do, you can just tape the routine directly on the wall or make a chart with post-its. It’s an interesting option and depending on the place you choose (like the living room or the hallway) all the members of the family will be able to check it out, add more things or change if necessary.
Sheet on the fridge
The kitchen is still one of the most visited places in the house, and there’s no better place to put the routine/planner sheet other than the fridge. Everybody will be stopping by sooner or later and even if you’re not planning on reading it, just by passing the eyes by it will easily make you remember something you have to do.
If you do better with your routine and lists close to you, maybe the best option is to get a physical planner you can take anywhere. You can keep all the things there, the weekly calendar with the appointments and meetings, the daily routine, the to-do lists, the grocery list, etc. It’s great for keeping track of everything and won’t leave you any chance of forgetting things.
For those who are one step closer to technology, you can use your phone to keep track of everything. Google calendar is a great option for it, it will remind you of your schedule and the color coordinating system is very interesting: you can put your appointments in a color and your partner’s or kids in another color, making the calendar much easier to deal and visually appealing. Simply Us is an interesting scheduling and list-making app you share with your partner. It syncs between the couple and updates both calendars and list when one makes a change. The Cozi Family Organizer app lets you keep track of not only your appointments, but also the after-school activities of your kids and whatever lists you need. And to finish, you can enter checklists on apps like Habit List or Habit Streak Plan to keep track of your routine. It crosses off tasks you already did and refreshes the list for the next day.
Other routines: keep it visual
If you have more than one kid and they keep fighting over who’s gonna pick tonight bedtime story, the book, the tv show, the prayer, etc; you can make a chart that changes every day and keeps rotating to who is gonna do/choose what. For example: today Lauren is picking the book and John is choosing the tv show. Tomorrow it changes. It’s great for avoiding fights and teaching the kids to respect other people’s decisions.
It may take a few weeks for the family to get used to it, but after they do, it’s going to bring peace and structure to the house. The kids will grow more disciplined and organized, and you’ll have a simpler and calmer life, without any “chaos” surrounding the family.
Article written and contributed by Isadora Guidoni, also a writer for homeyou.com, a company that connects homeowners to reliable, affordable and professional contractors for their home improvement projects. Check more on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Thanks for contributing!